dog dental hygiene tips from northwoods vet hospital in athol idaho

Pet Dental Hygiene & Oral Care

Is My Pet’s Bad Breath Normal?

Although we are used to hearing the phrase “dog breath”, it is not normal for a pet’s breath to be stinky. Just like humans, a dog’s dental hygiene can be a sign that other diseases are present. Poor hygiene and bad breath could potentially lead to more serious health problems in the heart, kidneys, liver, or lungs if left untreated.

How to Get Rid of My Pet’s Bad Breath

First and foremost, the best course of action to combat bad breath is staying on top of routine dental cleanings. Work with your veterinarian to figure out how often your pet should come in for cleanings and to also come up with a home regimen for your pet.

Although these options won’t get rid of the issue entirely, there are things that can help freshen your dog’s breath such as rubber toys (Kong Extreme), dental dog treats, rawhide, and water additives. These won’t fix the problem but can certainly help with the smell and act as support tools in addition to your pet’s regular dental cleanings.

Symptoms of Dental Disease in Pets

It is important to note that animals can be quite good at hiding their pain. As an owner, it especially makes it more difficult to spot as it is not front and center and sometimes can only be detected under the gums. Be sure to recognize your pet’s eating habits and notice if there are any changes in their behavior. It may be a sign that they are in pain.

New irritability, shying away from being touched (especially on the face and around the mouth or throat), sluggishness, loss of appetite or difficulty eating, and lethargy are all behavioral signs which may indicate illness.

If you note any of the following physical changes, contact your vet immediately:

  • Red and swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums, especially when eating or when having teeth brushed
  • Swelling around the mouth
  • Oral abscesses
  • Abnormal chewing
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Crusted build up at the edge of the gums
  • Persistent bad or fetid breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Weight loss

It is never too late to begin your pet’s oral hygiene journey! Preventing oral infections and disease will help your pet live a longer, healthier life.

Anesthesia for Dental Procedures

Depending on your vet, the use of anesthesia for dental work will most likely be required. Attempting procedures without anesthesia can be dangerous to both the animal and vet. Especially when work needs to be done under the gum line, any movement could mean harm to your pet from our dental equipment. There are always risks when using an anesthetic, however, most animals do well under anesthesia. In addition, the risks are outweighed by the fact that this makes all procedures safer and allows us to provide your pet the highest quality veterinary care.

Advances in the latest anesthetics mean that for most normal procedures, your pet can go home on the very same day. They may be groggy, but their behavior should return to normal the next day. Talk to your veterinarian about any concerns you have. We want both you and your pet to be comfortable!

Dental Procedures

Your pet’s health is as important to us as it is to you which is why we provide a full offering of dental procedures including:

Hygiene:

  • Scaling (removal of plaque and tartar above the gum line)
  • Polishing
  • Cleaning plaque and tartar below the gum line
  • Examining below the gum line for signs of disease (X-ray)

Oral Procedures:

  • Periodontal disease treatments
  • Infection treatment

Surgical Procedures:

  • Extraction of teeth or dental pulp
  • Oral cancer or cysts treatment
  • Tooth abscess treatment

Ready to get rid of your pet’s stinky breath? Come see our vets at Northwoods Veterinary Hospital in Athol, Idaho or call us at 208-683-2708.