Pet Health: Dental chews, brushing can only do so much

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circa 1955: A dog having its teeth brushed. (Photo by Vecchio/Three Lions/Getty Images)

Dental chews and brushing can help with dental health, but it is important that your veterinarian evaluates on each exam oral health, according to Dr. Thomas Mackowiak of  WellHaven Pet. He joined Emily and Jenny Wednesday and provided these tips:

·  During a dental cleaning we use an ultrasonic scaler to get between each nook and cranny and under the gum line to get dental calculus off, anesthesia is needed.

·  Don’t wait until your pet has advanced dental disease.

·  It is much better for your pet to start with dental cleanings at your veterinarian early on to avoid advanced decay.

·  Starting early is also much cheaper if it is just a cleaning.

·  If there are  8-10 extractions it can be close to 800-1200 dollars. A cleaning under anesthesia costs a fraction of that.

·  Breed differences: Small dogs have more issues early on, while bigger breeds are more likely to chew on rocks and hard toys breaking their teeth.

·  Try to brush your pet’s teeth (pet products)

·  Ask your veterinarian for appropriate chew toys to avoid damage/fractures, also discuss an appropriate food, dry food is better for teeth than wet food.

·  By the time a pet turns 3-4 years most will need a dental cleaning (cats and dogs).

·  In senior pets discuss with your veterinarian anesthetic risk vs benefit of anesthesia.

·  Cats and dogs are very resilient to pain and don’t show discomfort until disease is pretty advanced. Being still able to eat is not a good indicator of dental decay.

·  In a nutshell- have your veterinarian evaluate your pet’s dental health.

·  Start early with preventive cleanings to avoid extractions.

·  This will keep their oral health in good shape and avoid damage of other organ systems like liver, kidneys and heart.

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