Charlottesville veterinarian advocates for canine dental care

Charlottesville veterinarian advocates for canine dental care
Kirsten shows off her pearly whites, which are kept gleaming with diligent home care.

As we learned in Living with canine cushings and VETSS ensured quick recovery for Charlottesville dachshund, both humans and canines can develop many of the same maladies. Periodontal disease is another that can be added to the list. And for dachshunds, with their relatively small mouths and more delicate bones (as compared with Dobermans), proper dental care is even more important.

According to Dr. Richard Freedman, of Albemarle Veterinary Health Care Center, located on Westfield Road in Charlottesville, good dental care is critical to the overall health of all pets and of dachshunds in particular. Because of the construction of the dachshund mouth, extra care should be taken to avert tartar buildup, which can lead to periodontal disease and its related issues. Once bacteria take over, not only teeth, but also bone can be destroyed, making way for the bacteria to get into the blood stream and cause infections of the animal’s heart, kidneys, and liver.

To avert this danger Freedman recommends daily cleaning with an enzymatic canine toothpaste, particularly the C.E.T. brand, available at most veterinarians, and online at amazon. The paste can be applied either with gauze (by wiping the teeth) or with the use of a doggie toothbrush. Be sure to give a special treat, one that your doxie does not normally get, after the treatment. That way he’ll associate tooth cleaning with treats. Never use human toothpaste, as it is not designed to be swallowed, which dogs will do with anything put into their mouths.

In addition to daily home care, Dr. Freedman also recommends annual professional cleaning for dogs over age five, believing that it is better to avert problems before they have a chance to develop. The annual cleaning allows for removal of built-up plaque, which hardens, creating tartar and ultimately gingivitis if not cleaned. The process is the same in humans.

The kind of food that you feed your canine can also affect the development of tartar and periodontal disease. Hard kibble is much better than soft canned food for your doxie’s teeth because the kibble acts like nature’s toothbrush fighting plaque accumulation on the teeth.

The American Veterinary Dental Society says that 80% of dogs show signs of dental disease by age three, so begin your program of home care early. And it is never too late to begin. Even if your doxie is older, start cleaning her teeth now. There may already be some issues, but you don’t want them to get out of hand.