February is coming up – a month that is a special time around Goldorado Animal Hospital. It is our Dental Health Month, where every patient will receive a 15% discount off any dental procedure. Now is a great time to review several ways to keep your pet’s mouth healthy:

1. Beware Bad Breath:

Cat with mouth wide open

If a musky scent is coming from Fluffy’s mouth, don’t ignore it. This could be a warning sign that she has periodontal disease or another oral disease such as stomatitis, a common feline condition that causes painful inflammation of the gums and mouth tissues. Other dental-health warning signs include bleeding gums, yellow or brown teeth, pawing at the mouth, and loose or missing teeth.



2. Brush Their Teeth:

While it might be difficult at first, with enough patience and plenty of yummy rewards, you can turn tooth brushing into a bonding experience with your dog or cat. It might take several weeks to train your four-legged friend to warm up to the toothbrush, so start by letting her smell the toothbrush and pet toothpaste, then gradually work your way to brushing for 30 seconds on each side of her mouth at least every other day. By the way, human toothpaste isn’t safe for pets, so be sure to use a product approved for your pet.



3. Toys, Treats, and Food:

While it’s not as effective as brushing your pet’s teeth, giving her treats, toys and food specifically designed to promote oral health will help them maintain healthy gums and teeth. Check for the “Seal of Acceptance” from the Veterinary Oral Health Council to make sure that whatever alternative you choose meets the standards for effective plaque and tartar control.

4. Dental Exams:

Vet Checking Dog's Teeth

Humans aren’t the only ones who need their chompers checked by a professional; your four-legged friend needs to have her teeth and gums checked by a veterinarian. During our dental exam at Goldorado, Dr. Prince or Dr. Barnes will first take your pet’s medical history, then ask if you’ve noticed any dental health warning signs such as bad breath. Next, we’ll examine your pet, including checking the head and neck for any abnormalities. Finally, we’ll check out your pet’s teeth and gums for redness, bleeding, and inflammation. We’ll also be on the lookout for tooth loss, cracked teeth, plaque and tartar, as well as potentially cancerous lumps and bumps. A cursory dental exam can usually be performed without sedation, unless your pet becomes aggressive or his teeth are very painful. For a complete dental evaluation, though, your pet will have to go under.

5. Dental Prophylaxis:

To thoroughly examine your pet’s teeth and gums, properly get rid of nasty tartar, and really clean your pet’s pearly whites, they will need to be anesthetized. Though sedating your dog or cat sounds scary, it’s not as bad as it sounds — in fact, the procedure has never been safer or more comfortable. At Goldorado, all of our patients undergo a thorough screening process to ensure they are all healthy enough for the procedure. Safety is our first priority.

When you think about it, the benefits of dental cleaning outweigh the possible risks of anesthesia. When your pet wakes up, their breath will smell better and their teeth will be shinier and healthier. As an extra bonus, maintaining healthy teeth and gums helps protect the body’s other organs, like the heart and kidneys, from the damaging effects of dental disease.

We look forward to seeing your pet’s healthy smile!