Making sure that your dog is healthy is one of the most important things that you can do. The truth is, you owe it to both yourself and your dog to make sure that you do everything in your power to keep her as healthy as possible. Part of that effort involves making sure that you keep track of her dental health, including ensuring that she gets regular dental cleaning. For some pet parents, this is a no-brainer. For other people, it’s a bit more difficult to fully absorb the fact that canine dental cleaning is just as important as ensuring that your kids see their dentist on a regular basis.
The Importance of Good Dental Health for Your Dog
Making sure that your dog’s dental health is on track is easily one of the most important things you can do to ensure her overall good health. It can even make a difference in how long she lives. That said, it can also be a real stretch for some people who have adopted a more old-school train of thought to ensure that regular dental cleaning occurs. It doesn’t necessarily mean that these individuals care less about their dog than someone who never misses an appointment for anything. However, it does mean they were probably brought up during a time when dogs were mostly kept outside and the only time they went to see a veterinarian was when it was a life-or-death situation. Like it or not, it wasn’t until more recently that people started fully realizing that pet health takes just as much effort as keeping human beings healthy. As a result, your dog needs a yearly checkup and a good dental cleaning just like you do. If you’re already convinced about this, good for you. Chances are, you’re probably making sure that everything is taken care of on time without the need for reminders. If you’re not quite convinced that all of this is vitally important, please keep reading. By the time you’re finished, you will likely have a much better understanding of the importance of dog dental cleaning, along with a few other things.
Should You Really Brush Your Dog’s Teeth?
One of the things that you have to understand is that regular dog teeth cleaning must indeed be done by your veterinarian. However, you can also do a lot in your own home to make sure that your dog’s dental health is being properly cared for. It might surprise you to know that one of those things involves brushing your dog’s teeth on a regular basis. Is it really necessary? The truth is, it is of paramount importance that you brush your dog’s teeth on a regular basis if you want to maintain good dental health. Granted, there are some other methods that can be used to help increase the chances that she will have good dental health, but nothing is quite as effective as avoiding plaque and tartar by brushing routinely. If you’ve never done it before, it’s really not as bad as it sounds. There are specially-designed dog toothpastes and toothbrushes that you can use which make the entire process easier. The toothpaste itself can be purchased in various flavors ranging from chicken to liver. This makes it much more likely that your dog won’t have a huge problem with you brushing her teeth. You can either use a specially designed toothbrush just for her or you can buy a toothbrush that actually slips onto your finger. When you “brush” her teeth, it’s more like massaging her gums. Most dogs actually get used to this quite quickly. If your dog isn’t terribly fond of the process, it might take a few attempts to help her understand that nothing bad is going to happen to her when it’s time to brush her teeth. With a little effort, it shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll probably be happy to know that you don’t have to brush your dog’s teeth on a daily basis, either. Two or three times a week will more than suffice.
Does Your Dog’s Dental Health Decline as She Get Older?
Just like human beings, your dog’s dental health can decline as she gets older. That makes it more important than ever that you clean her teeth on a routine basis. It also makes it vitally important that you get her teeth professionally cleaned in addition to any of the efforts that you are making at home. While it is critical that you brush her teeth, that’s not likely to be enough to get the job done in its entirety. As such, you cannot rule out professional teeth cleaning. If you do, it makes it all the more likely that your dog will end up suffering from dental health issues that could eventually lead to something even more serious. Your best bet is to start working on your dog’s dental health when she is a puppy (or when you first get her) and then continue doing so on a regular basis throughout her entire life. Unfortunately, some people have the misconception that they don’t need to put as much effort into their dog’s dental health once the dog gets older. The truth is, it’s more important than ever as she ages.
Does Diet Play a Role?
Just like anything else, diet plays a huge role in the overall health of your dog. While your dog may not be eating huge amounts of junk food like a human would, your typical bag of dog food isn’t exactly healthy, at least not in many cases. The dyes that are used in this type of food can cause problems with dental health all by themselves, not to mention many of the other chemicals that are put into a typical bag of dry dog food. If you want to feed your dog a healthier diet, you can achieve that goal by feeding fresh vegetables like celery and even providing the right supplements for your dog as a part of proper dental care. If you do plan on having your dog eat celery, make sure that you remove the spines from each stalk before giving it to your dog. This allows her to enjoy a healthy treat and dramatically reduces the chances that she will choke.
Can Dental Problems Occur When Your Dog Chews on Things?
Unfortunately, dental problems can occur as a direct result of your dog chewing on things that she probably shouldn’t have been chewing on in the first place. If you give your dog bones or other hard objects to chew on, you could quickly find yourself making an emergency trip to the veterinarian. Dogs can break teeth, just like human beings do. It may not happen as often and it may not occur as easily, but it does happen. There are many reasons why you really shouldn’t be feeding your dog a bone in the first place. This is just one of them. In reality, bones are not very healthy. In addition to the potential tooth damage that can occur, it’s also possible for your dog to choke on a bone. Your best bet is to avoid them altogether, and opt for a dog dental chew instead.
Do You Really Need to Get Your Dog’s Teeth Cleaned by a Veterinarian?
This question has already been touched on briefly, but it’s important enough that it needs to be discussed more in-depth. As previously mentioned, it’s just not enough to brush your dog’s teeth at home. That’s a very important step, but it doesn’t really help if you’re not getting your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned. Your veterinarian is able to clean your dog’s teeth in a manner that just isn’t possible at home. It usually involves putting your dog under general anesthesia and getting all of the plaque and debris off of the teeth that you just can’t get rid of during brushing. It’s a crucial part of keeping your dog healthy and one in which you shouldn’t hesitate to get done on a routine basis.
How Often Should You Have Your Dog’s Teeth Examined and Cleaned?
If your pet is otherwise healthy, you should make sure that your dog’s teeth are examined and cleaned at least once a year. Most people decide to incorporate teeth cleaning with an annual examination. Some brave souls even decide to do that the same day that they get their dog her booster shots. The truth is, it’s likely to be a bit much for your dog when you do all of that in a single day. It’s really best to do a general exam and teeth cleaning one day and then bring her back for her shots about a week later. If your dog suffers from a medical condition that affects her overall dental health, it’s important to have more regular teeth cleaning.
How Much Does Dental Cleaning for Your Dog Cost?
Unfortunately, dental cleaning for your dog isn’t cheap. In fact, It can cost anywhere from about $400 to upwards of $1,000 for basic cleaning. Why is it so expensive? Remember, it all comes down to the fact that your dog has to go under general anesthesia in order for routine cleaning to occur. As such, you end up paying the costs associated with many of the same procedures that are used during surgery. Unfortunately, the end result is a procedure that is necessary, but quite expensive.
It might be tempting to try and skimp on your dog’s dental health. However, it’s imperative that you do everything you can to make sure that she has an opportunity to live a long and happy life without unnecessary medical complications that are caused by failing to address basic needs over the course of several years. After all, remember that your dog is a part of the family. Even though dog teeth cleaning cost is expensive, it is a necessary part of owning a dog. Thankfully, most pet owners only have to do it once a year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do dogs really need teeth cleaning?
As previously discussed, routine dog teeth cleaning is a necessary part of making sure your furry pal stays healthy. Without it, it’s possible for plaque to accumulate, which eventually increases the chances for infection and other dental health issues. This can have a detrimental impact on your dog’s overall health.
Why is dog dental cleaning so expensive?
It all comes back to the fact that a dog has to be put under general anesthesia in order to have an effective dental cleaning. It simply isn’t safe to have your dog’s teeth cleaned without putting her under. She might become frightened and try to run or even bite. This could injure her or the staff who are working on her. Therefore, it’s necessary to use general anesthesia and all of the monitoring equipment that goes with it. This in turn drives up the cost. You can often find affordable dog dental care near you, especially in major metropolitan areas. Here are some examples of prices you’d find for pet dental care in the Houston area. Some vets specialize in offering these services, and might be lower priced than your primary veterinarian.
How often should you have your dog’s teeth cleaned?
For a dog that is in good health, you should have her teeth cleaned once a year. If she has certain medical conditions which require more frequent cleaning, your veterinarian will let you know so you can set up a timetable. Please understand that you should do your best to follow that timetable as recommended by your veterinarian. Even though the procedure can be costly, it is imperative to follow these guidelines as closely as possible in order to help prevent additional health problems from occurring.
How can I get plaque off my dog’s teeth?
You can remove plaque from your dog’s teeth by regularly brushing her teeth, approximately two to three times a week. Make sure that you’re using toothpaste and a toothbrush designed for canines. In addition, you might choose to use certain chews or supplements that can help remove plaque from your dog’s teeth. If you do make the decision to use specially designed chews to remove plaque, make sure that you are choosing high-quality products that don’t contain a lot of potentially harmful by-products.