Q&A – Pet Dental Health

pet dental healthFebruary is National Pet Dental Health month! To celebrate, we’re answering a few basic questions about dog dental health:

So when do dogs have adult teeth? Do they just keep their baby ones?

When they’re young, puppies have a set of milk teeth, or deciduous teeth, they use to nurse and eventually eat solid food with. When they reach 14-18 weeks old, they lose these teeth to make room for their permanent adult teeth. By around 6 months, puppies will have lost almost all of their milk teeth and have their adult teeth in place, or coming in. Once all adult teeth are in, dogs will have 42 permanent teeth – that’s about 10 more than humans!

Why do I need to brush my dog’s teeth?

Once dogs get their set of adult teeth, they won’t grow in anymore. Just like humans, those are the teeth they will have for the rest of their lives. And, just like us, brushing regularly will prevent bad breath, tooth decay, and disease.

How do I take care of my dog’s teeth? What if my dog won’t let me brush them?

Now, more than ever, there are tons of ways to take care of your dog’s oral hygiene. The most common way being regular teeth brushing! Regular brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste is one of the best ways to keep your pup’s teeth healthy and clean. But, for some pups, getting their teeth brushed isn’t on the top of their list of “Favorite Things To Do”. Luckily, there’s other options on the market, like dental treats, teeth wipes, and even water additives to keep their mouth healthy! Check out this list of approved dental products from the Veterinary Oral Health Council: http://vohc.org/VOHCAcceptedProductsTable_Dogs.pdf

What is involved in a full dental cleaning procedure?

For keeping your dog’s mouth as healthy as it can be, a yearly dental cleaning is recommended by veterinarians. During a dental procedure, your pup is under general anesthesia, and a vet is able to thoroughly look at the teeth, mouth, tongue, and gums. It allows them to get an even better look at and assess overall mouth health, even for finicky pups! They remove plaque and tartar buildup, may remove damaged or decaying teeth, assess for disease, and more. At Indy Veterinary Care, we also have digital dental x-rays to assess tooth health below the gum line in the same way that human dentists do!

What if I have concerns about my dog’s teeth?

If you ever notice a change in your dog’s mouth- bad breath, discomfort while eating, pawing at the face, or just anything out of the ordinary – don’t hesitate to call your vet! It’s better to catch any problems early, so you and your vet can work on setting a treatment plan into place.

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