Sunday, February 2, 2014

Post-Dental Care Tips for Pets

Post-Dental Care Tips for Pets
Photo via Thinh H. 

February is National Pet Dental Health Month, which means it's time to talk about teeth! Teeth are a very important tool for our pets. Mostly, they are used to chew and eat their food but they can be used for other things too. It's important to take care of your pet's teeth because a number of health conditions can occur from poor dental health in pets.

You can help keep your pet's teeth healthy by brushing them with a toothbrush and pet-friendly toothpaste on a regular basis. Never use human toothpaste, as the fluoride in it is toxic to dogs and cats. You can also give your dog or cat chew toys and treats which are good for removing tartar buildup.

While these steps are good to take in preventing tartar, they will not actually remove any buildup that is already on your pet's teeth. For that, your pet may need to have a dental procedure or teeth cleaning done at the veterinarian's office. Many veterinary clinics have special deals during the month of February on dental cleanings, so give your office a call and see if they have any special discounts going on. If you'd like to know what goes on at a dental cleaning, here is some more information.


After your pet gets their teeth cleaned, you may be wondering what you need to do for their post-dental care. These tips will help your furry friend feel better and more comfortable after they have their teeth cleaned.

How will my pet feel after they have their teeth cleaned?

Your dog, cat, or even your ferret (yes, they need dental care too) is likely to feel groggy, sleepy, and maybe even a little whiny and clingy after their dental procedure. These are typically done under anesthesia, so this is all perfectly normal. 

Ferret Dental Care
Photo via Michal Bielecki

Most of the time, a routine dental cleaning should not cause much pain. It may cause some discomfort, however. Depending on the procedures they had performed while under anesthesia, most pets feel fine by the next day. If there were more extensive treatments performed during the teeth cleaning, such as tooth extractions, doxycycline implants, heavy tartar, etc., then they may feel more painful and for a longer period of time. 

If you are concerned that your pet is feeling painful after their dental, check with your vet about what medications they can prescribe for pain. Never give your dog or cat pain medicine that is meant for humans. Tylenol and Ibuprofen are both toxic to pets. 

Feeding

When you bring your pet home that afternoon, it's probably best to give a soft food that evening at meal time and maybe even the next day for breakfast. Their gums may be sensitive and soft food won't be so hard on them. Plus, if your pet's appetite is down this might entice them to eat. Most dogs and cats love moist food. 

If they had a tooth extracted or some other painful procedure done while at the vet, you may need to feed them soft food for a much longer period of time. You can ask your vet how long they recommend feeding a soft food for after a tooth extraction. 
  

No Chewing!

Chewing is more of a dog thing, but some cats enjoy it too. Don't allow your dog or cat to do any heavy chewing immediately after their teeth cleaning. This is mostly just to prevent any pain that it could cause. 

And of course, if your pet had teeth removed you will want to strictly prohibit chewing for an extended period of time. Again, you can ask your vet how long your pet should not chew on toys or treats. 

Continue Preventive Care at Home

Now that your furry friend's teeth are all clean, you should continue preventive care for them at home. Regular brushing and providing healthy chew toys will help slow down the build-up of yucky tartar and plaque on their teeth. You can also use an oral hygiene rinse to help keep your pet's teeth healthy. A good one is C.E.T Oral Hygiene Rinse for Cats and Dogs and it's carried by some veterinarians. 

Brushing your pet's teeth is good for them!
Photo via John Morton

Remember that prevention is key! If you can continue to take care of your pet's teeth, they may need less dental cleaning procedures in the future. Let us know how you keep your pet's teeth healthy in the comments below!

29 comments:

  1. It's pretty difficult cleaning my cat's teeth with her trying to claw my hand off. I've also tried adding fresh mint leaves into her food but she seems to avoid the food altogether.

    Now her mouth doesn't smell as much as the solution I found was to feed her biscuits that are specially designed for her dental care.

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    1. Hey Rahat, you are right - it's not always easy to brush! Glad you were able to find a nice dental treat that she likes. Cats can be tricky sometimes :)

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  2. It's not easy to clean the teeth of Easy, but we do it :o) Many thanks for a great post, it's important to have well cared teeth :o)

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    1. Sometimes our jobs as dog parents aren't easy, but someone has to do it! ;)

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  3. Oh yes, dental health is so very impawtant, even though none of us really like the process.

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    1. That's OK Brian, I don't like it either!

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  4. Those are some great tips and we did not think about the heavy duty chewing but of course it makes sense. Luckily with my afternoon diet of dry food my nashers are all OK. I only have wet food for breakfast. Have a serene Sunday and enjoy some big easy today.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. Pawsome Molly. Glad your chompers are doing well.

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  5. GREAT tips!!!
    Recently Waffles' vet suggested I take old pantyhose, wrap a small piece around my finger and massage his teeth and gums with it. She said it was more about the "brushing" than it was about the toothpaste. Ok, I haven't built up enough courage to stick my finger in his mouth yet, but I plan to soon!
    ; ) Glogirly

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    1. I have heard that suggestion before too actually. Hope that all goes well when you put your finger in there! MOL... he seems like a good boy though.

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  6. I can't do Alf's, he bites me to death but I have checked them and they seem very clean. Mollie I get the brush out for :) xxxoxxx


    Mollie and Alfie

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    1. Cats can be hard to brush... I don't think I ever brushed my last cat's teeth. Shiner gets her teeth brushed every now and then, and it's something I hope to do a little more often.

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  7. I have my teeth cleaned. The cats are difficult, so they have some chewy treats that are designed to clean their teeth.

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  8. I meant brushed - cleaned was a confusing way for me to say it when you've been talking about dental cleaning at the vet's!

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    1. That's OK Clowie, I know what you meant! Sounds like your bipeds have a good plan for you guys.

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  9. Never had to do this for any of my cats or dogs that I had,xx Rachel

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  10. The drama of having to take your pet to the vet for a dental cleaning! Its so important though and so far Dolly's teeth are beautiful!

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    1. It's really not so dramatic! The procedure is pretty simple and doesn't have to be so bad. I've performed hundreds of them, but when it's your own pet I realize that things are different.

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  11. We have all been brushing since we were puppies, and our chompers look great. Katie has a little build up after almost 12 years but nothing needing a cleaning. For many brushing is too much work, but we love it and it doesn't take all that long. The kitties eat greenies and dry food. Bert just had his teeth cleaned, but Sophie's look like brand new...must be genetic.

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    1. Sounds like you guys have some nice teeth! Some cats are not blessed with good teeth, like you mention. My last cat had stomatitis and some cats need to have all of their teeth removed because of it.

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  12. I have to admit, I am super lazy about brushing Rita's teeth. But I've been giving her one of those C.E.T. chews about every other or every third day, (they are super pricey at my dentist's office, but I found them for a reasonable price on Amazon) and her teeth look really good! I should probably brush them every once in a while too. Need to get on that and stop being so lazy!

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    1. It's OK Jackie, I am bad about it too. We got some new doggy toothbrushes so hopefully that will encourage me to do it more often. Love those CET chews too, btw.

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  13. I really need to start brushing Chuy's teeth daily. He absolutely hates it, which makes it difficult to do . . . but it's a necessity. I've had his teeth cleaned at the vet once and it made me nervous wreck!

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    1. Small dogs, like chihuahuas, are more likely to build up tartar than some other dogs. I know it's not easy when we got to put our animals under anesthesia, but it really is such a simple procedure. I've done tons of dentals before.

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  14. That cat in the last picture didn't look happy to be getting it's teeth cleaned. It would have probably been better if it was under anesthesia. I guess that is why they do it to most pets.

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    1. Oh, that cat is just having its teeth brushed :) For teeth cleanings, an ultrasonic scaler that squirts water and scrapes tartar off teeth is used. Followed by a polishing tool.

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  15. my 3 girls go to a dental specialist, who started the dental program at the nc vet school. we travel 190 miles every 3 mos or so. he is the best, only does teeth. people come from all over the us, canada to see him. my youngest has has root planing, gum graphs, all 3 have had fillings, he puts them in la la land, them gives them the right combo of anesthesia as decided upon per pet, he uses different types. my girls come right out of it, as soon as i pick them up you would never know they had been under. he is very insistent on brushing every day. no hard treats, no tennis balls, no pull toys, he started working with a human dentist over 30 yrs ago and developed a line of dental products for pets that are wonderful. i even use the gum little brushes that go b/t teeth on my youngest, i use flosses, i also know how to scrape off the tartar. just b/c the teeth are white, does not mean that all is fine. my former vet wanted to pull over 10 teeth from my youngest, who was not even a yr old, i was pissed b/c she never checked her teeth, said they looked fine, were white, then bam, a loose tooth and she started in on me, needless to say i no longer go there. my current dental vet was her teacher and he was extremely upset. my girl only had to have 2 back teeth pulled, the xrays dont always tell the true story either. you need to get under the gum line to get all of the tartar. no raw food for a few days, no bones at all ever. he is with sedgefield animal hospital, dr banker. love this practice, everyone is so nice, the techs are wonderful. and he is very reasonable,

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