Pet Dental Care Guidelines from the American Animal Hospital Association

The American Animal Hospital Association recently updated its dental care guidelines for veterinary practitioners.   They have also created a helpful factsheet for dog and cat owners based on the guidelines.

Here’s what you need to know to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy!

  • Dental disease starts early, and most pets will have some issues by the age of three. Your vet should check your pet’s teeth at every preventive care visit, regardless of age.
  • Dental problems can cause chronic pain, which many pets are good at hiding. Observe changes in your pet’s behavior and appetite.

  • X-Rays can help your vet confirm a diagnosis of dental disease, even when your pet’s teeth look normal.
  • While many owners are nervous about anesthesia, it is important for your pet to remain still and comfortable during dental procedures. Your vet will perform bloodwork to ensure that your pet is healthy enough for anesthesia.
  • Even if you brush your pet’s teeth at home, dentals are effective in removing plaque from under the gumline.
  • Your vet may prescribe pain medication for you to give your pet at home after a dental, especially if any teeth were extracted.

  • Home tooth brushing is the best way to help maintain your dog or cat’s oral health between vet visits. Choose brushes and pastes made for pets and look for dental health treats and chews that are accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.