Myth Monday — Dental Myths
By Kaitlin Evaston
Working in the veterinary field you come across a great deal of people who don’t understand pet dental hygiene.
Your pet has teeth and they require just as much care as your own. Yes, it’s true that certain dental chews are good for your dog’s teeth, but they should not be the sole product you use (also if using a product, check that the product is approved by the VOHC or Veterinary Oral Health Council).
The best way to keep your pet’s teeth clean is to brush daily. Without the proper dental care practices at home, your pet could end up with dental disease which results in the animal needing to be put under anesthesia for a cleaning, possible repairs, and/or possible extractions. Here are a few common dental myths we hear in the veterinary field:
Myth: Canine mouths are cleaner than a humans.
Truth: Dogs, like humans, have a lot of bacteria in their mouths. The population of bacteria is different, but that doesn’t mean their mouths are any cleaner. I’ve seen some of the things my dog puts into his mouth and let me just tell you…there is no way that mouth is cleaner than mine.
Myth: Dental disease is inevitable as a pet ages.
Truth: There are many elderly animals who don’t have any dental disease. I had a Jack Russell for 12 years and she never had any issues with her teeth. It all depends on how far you’re willing to go to help to prevent it. Ideally, you should brush your pet’s teeth daily. However, for some people that is next to impossible and some pets won’t even let you get a toothbrush in their mouth. If your pet is one of those, there are other ways to help prevent against dental disease. You can put your dog on a good dental food like Science Diet t/d or you can try some other products recommended by the Veterinary Oral Health Council. Visit www.vohc.org for a full list of approved products or talk to your vet.
Myth: If my pet needs a dental procedure, it’s too dangerous to put an older animal under anesthesia.
Truth: This is a myth that crosses my path all too often. Neffsville Veterinary Clinic uses the safest general anesthesia available. We require all pets to have pre-anesthetic blood work done in order to be sure the pet is in tip-top shape for surgery. There are always risks when any pet or human goes under anesthesia, but our pets are carefully monitored by our technicians and doctors throughout the procedure and after.
In summary, pets’ teeth need just as much care as your own. They require daily brushing with the help of a good diet and regular check-ups with your vet. The risk of dental disease can be greatly reduced with just a toothbrush and some pet toothpaste! And don’t forget that if your pet does need a dental cleaning, talk to your vet about all the precautions they take to keep your furry friend safe throughout the procedure.
Thanks for checking out Myth Monday, check back in next week when we talk about Resort Myths!