Authored by: Dr. Lindsey, DVM
I’m sure your veterinarian has talked to you about the importance of dental health for your pet. I always get asked by pet owners if they actually need to brush their pet’s teeth, the answer is yes! Teeth brushing is the gold standard for preventative dental health. Veterinary dentists recommend daily teeth brushing which I can understand can be difficult to do. The more often that the pet can get their teeth brushed the better for their dental health. Once teeth brushing becomes a part of the pets daily routine they will begin to expect it and may even enjoy it. I also get a lot of questions about anesthesia free dentistry so we will touch on that today as well.
Daily teeth brushing is recommended to help get plaque off but it doesn’t get calculus/tarter off. Daily teeth brushing doesn’t preclude the need for oral exams and prophylactic cleanings. It’s generally recommended to start working with pets at a young age to get them used to and trained to having their teeth brushed. It is a gradual training process because no animal is accustomed to having a toothbrush and toothpaste stuck in their mouth. It’s recommended to use pet toothpaste which comes in many yummy pet flavors like chicken, fish, and peanut butter. Do not use human toothpaste for your pet. Refer to the links below to get more information about dental health and finding a veterinary dentist near you.
Anesthesia free dental cleanings seem to be advertised all over the place. Frequently, clients will tell me that the groomer has cleaned their dog’s teeth. According to the American Animal Hospital Association, “groomers and others should never be allowed to scale a pet’s teeth.” They go on to say that “scaling of teeth must always be accompanied by polishing and must only be done by trained veterinary personnel operating in a clinical setting with an anesthetized animal.” Anesthesia free dental cleanings are a cosmetic procedure that doesn’t improve oral health.
Dr. Lindsey graduated from Colorado State University in 2009 and works in general practice, shelter medicine, and more recently as a civilian contractor veterinarian for the Army. She is also certified in acupuncture and resides in Palm Springs, CA.