Do Cats and Dogs Need Their Teeth Professionally Cleaned?

Here at the Animal Care Clinic in Algonquin, Illinois, our number one “surgical” procedure is dental prophy or cleaning. The American Veterinary Dental Association estimates that 80% of all dogs over the age of 3 and 60% of cats over the age of 5 have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is painful and can lead to severe infection in the mouth and other areas of the body.
Dental disease is a common disease that we see at our hospital. Signs such as foul breath, reluctance to chew on toys and gum disease are common signs. Unfortunately, there is no correlation between clinical signs and advanced dental disease. In other words, our pets may have moderate to severe dental disease and not show any clinical signs. Dogs have 42 adult teeth and cats have 30 adult teeth – just like you and me, if we do not take care of these teeth, we are at risk for developing infection and other serious diseases in our mouth.
Interestingly, we have found that the rates of dental disease in our rescue pets we work with – such as Animal House Shelter in Huntley and Anderson Animal Shelter have the exact same rates of dental disease we see in our client owned pets we see each and every day in our practices in Algonquin, South Elgin, Hoffman Estates and Geneva.
Few tips in preventing dental disease: 1. Begin at an early age, brushing your pet’s teeth (see our video on how to brush teeth) 2. Use only treats approved by the American Veterinary Dental Association 3. Annually have your pet’s teeth examined by one of our veterinarians.
Don’t be afraid if we recommend a dental cleaning or prophy for you pet. Yes general anesthetic will be used to ensure your pet receives the most comprehensive cleaning and polishing. At the Animal Care Clinic, we include full mouth dental radiographs (“x-rays”) as part of our cleaning process. This procedure is very safe and ensures you pet maintains a healthy mouth that is pain free and prevents disease.

Dr. Dan Markwalder DVM

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