As February is dental month at our practice I wanted to write a bit about, not only the importance of dental cleanings , but also the importance of the proper chews toys for you pet’s dentition.
This past week I have seen two dogs, young one 1.5 years and another 4 years old both of which had sustained deep slab fractures to their upper 4th pre-molar or “carnassial” tooth. This is a large chewing tooth on the upper jaw, that has 3 very large roots. One of these was a cockapoo and the other a golden retriever, to very different dog types. What did both of these dogs have in common that could cause the same damage to their teeth? Upon discussing and questioning these owners it was discovered that they gave their dogs the hard antlers to chew on because they were told it would keep their teeth clean. I will admit the remaining teeth were clean HOWEVER chewing the hard antler had caused these dogs to fracture their large teeth.
In both these situations the pulp was exposed and I had to extract the teeth. Had I left them in food and debris would have collected behind the slab fracture causing bacteria to track up the pulp and leading to infection. It was ad because both of these dogs were quite young and it pained me to have to remove the teeth. Please if you want to give your dog a chew toy, avoid hard substances like bones and antlers as they can cause the teeth to fracture. There are many other chewies out there that can help keep your pets’ teeth healthy and clean.
Also I know it is fun to throw things for your pet but let’s stick to balls and bumpers. I also had to remove 3 incisors and put a watch on a canine of a young Labrador retriever because human auntie thought it would be fun to throw rocks for him to retrieve. Needless to say catching rocks with teeth causes damage.
Dental cleaning is often recommended when your pet comes in for an exam. People often wonder why this is important. Dogs and cats are unable to brush their teeth. Most of their humans are often very busy and do not have time to do it for them. Plaque and tartar build up on their teeth over time causing inflammation of the gums, recession of the gums and ultimately can cause the loss of a tooth. While the gums are inflamed they bleed very easily. The bacteria collecting around the tartar can then enter the blood stream and can seed to various organs. This can cause heart disease, renal disease as well as various other concerns for your pet. Not to mention you pets’ breath will smell like a sewer.
I recommend talking to your veterinarian about dental disease and the importance of dental cleaning.