Dental Health Tips for Dogs and Cats – February is National Pet Dental Health Month. I spoke to Veterinarian Dr. Andrea Sanchez for pet dental health tips for dogs and cats.
Lisa LaGrou – Oakland County Moms – What are some of the diseases dogs can get as a result of poor oral hygiene?
Banfield Pet Hospital Veterinarian Dr. Andrea Sanchez, DVM – Right. So. In fact dental disease is in and of itself a disease. A study at Banfield Pet Hospital showed 91% of dogs over the age of three are diagnosed with dental disease and dental disease itself leads to infected teeth, rotting teeth, tooth root abscesses, oral pain… and it’s actually been correlated in dogs with kidney disease, liver disease and chronic heart disease – so other diseases of the rest of the body. We’d like to think of dental disease as an indicator of overall wellness in our patients.
Lisa LaGrou – Oakland County Moms – What kinds of signs should a pet owner look for that might indicate they have on of these diseases?
Banfield Pet Hospital Veterinarian Dr. Andrea Sanchez, DVM – Right. Good question. Every owner needs to be taking their pet into the vet twice a year, ideally every six months. And, every pet needs an annual thorough dental cleaning by their veterinarian. At home though, what you can look for is bad breath – that’s the number one sign, also, yellow or brown discoloration of the teeth – particularly the teeth that are in the back of the mouth, and redness or inflammation in the gums. Those are all key signs of dental disease.
Lisa LaGrou – Oakland County Moms – What causes the dental health issues and are certain dogs more likely to have these issues?
Banfield Pet Hospital Veterinarian Dr. Andrea Sanchez, DVM – Absolutely, I’m so glad you asked. What causes dental disease is just a build-up of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. The bacteria that plaque can trap into the dog or cat’s mouth are actually destructive to the teeth and gums. And, yes, it turns out there are certain breeds that are more susceptible to dental disease, particularly some of the smaller breed dogs like Pomeranians, or even some of the dogs with the shorter noses like Pugs – they are more susceptible to dental disease often than the larger breed dogs are.
Lisa LaGrou – Oakland County Moms – We’ve heard claims about dog foods and dog biscuits that clean dogs’ teeth. Do these really work and what do you recommend pet owners do to help their dog’s dental health?
Banfield Pet Hospital Veterinarian Dr. Andrea Sanchez, DVM – Well, it needs to be a process. It needs to be a complete routine. It’s never just one and done. We recommend a three-step process, a three-step routine that you can get accustomed to and your dog or cat can get accustomed to every single day. It’s called the Flip, Check, Treat method… Every single day at home, I’m actually going to the dog’s lip – this is step one… lift the lip. And, I’m going to check for all those signs I told you about – yellow or brown discoloration of these teeth, redness or inflammation in the gums, and if he’s really accustomed to it to the point where he’s ok with it… I can even introduce a dry pet tooth brush and scrub some of that plaque off of his teeth every day. Step 2 of course is Check. Just like we described, he needs to go to his vet for an annual dental cleaning every year. Step 3 though is the most important part. It’w where we reward his patience and tolerance… He really needs to be rewarded for that on a daily basis. And, that’s where a Greenies dental treat, a Greenies dental chew comes in. This treat is not just any kind of treat. I mean, not only is it delicious (dogs love it), but what it’s doing is it’s actually reinforcing the effects of tooth brushing. Not only is he saying “it was worth it for me to sit patiently while she poked around in my mouth,” but it’s also a textured dental chew which is designed to remove plaque from his teeth. So, it bolsters the effect of tooth brushing, it reinforces the tooth brushing, and it’s actually been proven to do those things. And it’s why it’s the number one veterinarian recommended dental treat. As veternarians, we’re really not going to promote a product unless there’s some very hard science behind it. And, Greenies dental chews have actually been approved by a third-party independent council called the Veterinary Oral Health Council… it’s been proven that Greenies dental chews reduce plaque and tartar to the same degree as tooth brushing.
Lisa LaGrou – Oakland County Moms – Where can people learn more about pet dental health tips for dogs and cats?
Banfield Pet Hospital Veterinarian Dr. Andrea Sanchez, DVM – I’m glad you asked. Tell your readers and viewers to go to FlipCheckTreat.com – you will find all the information you need and even some links to Banfield hospital.com.
ABOUT DR. ANDREA SANCHEZ
Andrea Sanchez, DVM, graduated from Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Sanchez joined Banfield in 2007 and is currently chief of staff at the northeast San Antonio, Texas, location. She and her husband, Michael, have three feline children named Daniel, Pablo and Felix.
For more dental health tips for dogs and cats, visit flipchecktreat.com.