Since pets are considered members of the family, it follows that you take care of them just like a family member. Good dental hygiene is as essential for pets as it is for people. Teeth cleaning is important for your dog's health as it helps keep chronic health issues at bay. Many dog owners understand that their pets will need teeth cleaning sooner or later, but at what age should they start?
This question has no simple answer. The age to start cleaning your dog's teeth depends on your dog's breed. Generally, smaller breed dogs start getting their teeth cleaned as early as six months old because they are at a higher risk for dental disease. This is because they have smaller mouths and rather large teeth for their mouths, which cause teeth crowding and trapping of plaque and germs. A few examples of breeds that are small include the Bulldog, Pug, Pekingese, Chihuahua, and Poodles, among others.
Unlike smaller breeds, bigger breed dogs start cleaning much later because they usually have fewer dental issues. But regardless of the type, you should take your dog for a dental exam every year. This way, the vet can inform you when a professional teeth cleaning is necessary for your dog.
If your vet determines that your dog needs teeth cleaning, they will do a full physical checkup on your dog and take a blood test. These tests will help determine whether your pup is healthy enough for anesthesia.
After the vet evaluates your dog’s general health, they will put your dog under anesthesia to reduce the stress of the cleaning procedure on the pup. Then, the vet will take an X-ray of your dog’s mouth to have a better look at the teeth one by one. Throughout the cleaning, the vet will look for cavities and signs of dental disease, removing any teeth that require removal and helping prevent infection or pain.
The cleaning process can take as few as 45 minutes or last up to four hours, depending on the dental work needed.
If you are not sure whether your pup needs to have its teeth cleaned, here are some telltale signs you can observe.
Bleeding or swollen gums
Pain in the mouth
Loose or cracked teeth
Loss of appetite
Unusual chewing or drooling
Dropping food because they do not want to chew it
Tooth discoloration or the presence of tartar on the teeth
Your dog may not show any of these signs, but that does not mean they do not have dental issues. Check in with your vet for the latest update on your dog's dental condition and to find out when to have your pup's teeth cleaned.
To learn more about the age dogs should get their teeth cleaned, visit Santa Monica Pet Medical Center at our office in Santa Monica, California. You can call (310) 393-8218 today to book an appointment.