Watson's Friends Animal Hospital

Pet Dental Services in Palmetto, FL

As pet owners, we want to ensure that our furry friends are healthy and happy. However, one aspect of pet health that is often overlooked is dental care. Just like humans, pets can develop dental problems that can lead to serious health issues if left untreated. We will discuss the importance of pet dental services and the signs of dental disease in pets.

The Importance of Pet Dental Services

Many pet owners may not realize the importance of regular dental care for their pets. However, just like humans, pets can develop plaque and tartar buildup on their teeth, which can lead to dental disease. This can cause pain, infection, and even tooth loss in pets. Regular dental cleanings and check-ups can help prevent these issues and keep your pet's mouth healthy.

In addition to preventing dental disease, pet dental services can also catch any potential problems early on. This can save you and your pet from more serious and costly dental procedures in the future. Regular dental cleanings can also improve your pet's overall health, as dental disease has been linked to other health issues such as heart disease and kidney disease.

Signs of Dental Disease in Pets

  • Broken or loose teeth
  • Facial swelling
  • Eating habits or behavior changes
  • Bad breath
  • Sneezing, nasal discharge, or excessive salivation
  • Red swollen gums or bleeding from the mouth
  • Refusal to play with toys
  • Drooling or dropping food from the mouth

Pet Dental Cleaning

Pre-Cleaning Exam

Before the actual cleaning, we will perform a thorough examination of your pet's mouth. This may include X-rays to check for any underlying issues that may not be visible on the surface. We will also check for any signs of gum disease, tooth decay, or other dental issues.


Pet dental cleanings require anesthesia. This is to ensure that your pet remains still and comfortable during the cleaning process. Anesthesia also allows us to thoroughly clean all areas of the mouth without causing any discomfort to your pet.

Scaling and Polishing

Once your pet is under anesthesia, we will begin the cleaning process. This typically involves scaling, which is the removal of plaque and tartar from the teeth. We will use specialized tools to carefully remove the buildup from all surfaces of the teeth. After scaling, the teeth will be polished to remove any remaining plaque and to smooth the surface of the teeth.


In some cases, your pet may require tooth extractions during the cleaning process. This is usually due to severe tooth decay or other dental issues. We will discuss this with you beforehand and will only perform extractions if absolutely necessary.

Post-Cleaning Exam

After the cleaning is complete, we will perform another examination of your pet's mouth. We will check for any remaining issues and may prescribe antibiotics or other medications if necessary. We will also provide you with instructions for at-home care to maintain your pet's dental health.

Why are X-Rays Necessary for Dental Cleaning?

Our team of veterinarians uses X-rays to diagnose dental concerns not visible. X-rays find the exact location of any dental pain and help identify the severity of any dental problems. Much is left unseen during an open-mouth exam, including abnormal or diseased teeth and roots, cysts, jaw or tooth fractures, foreign objects, and more. Our modern and convenient digital radiography equipment allows us to identify any issues that may be developing below the gum line.

At-Home Dental Care

Brush Your Pet's Teeth Regularly

Just like humans, brushing your pet's teeth is the most effective way to remove plaque and prevent tartar buildup. It's recommended to brush your pet's teeth at least three times a week, but daily brushing is ideal.

To brush your pet's teeth, you'll need a pet-specific toothbrush and toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste, as it can be toxic to pets. You can find pet toothbrushes and toothpaste at most pet stores or online.

Start by getting your pet used to the toothbrush and toothpaste. Let them sniff and lick the toothpaste to get used to the taste. Then, gently lift their lips and brush their teeth in a circular motion. Be sure to focus on the back teeth, as this is where plaque and tartar tend to build up the most.

If your pet is resistant to brushing, try using a finger brush or a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger. And remember to always reward your pet with a treat after brushing to make it a positive experience.

Provide Dental Chews and Toys

In addition to brushing, providing your pet with dental chews and toys can help keep their teeth clean. These products are designed to help remove plaque and tartar buildup while your pet chews and plays.

When choosing dental chews and toys, look for products that have the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval. This seal indicates that the product has been tested and proven to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup.

Add Dental Additives to Your Pet's Water

Dental additives are another way to help keep your pet's teeth clean. These additives are added to your pet's water and help prevent plaque and tartar buildup. They are an excellent option for pets who are resistant to brushing or have difficulty chewing dental chews and toys.

Again, be sure to look for products with the VOHC seal of approval when choosing a dental additive.

Schedule Regular Dental Checkups

In addition to at-home care, it's essential to schedule regular dental checkups for your pet. We will perform a thorough dental exam and may recommend a professional cleaning if necessary.

It's recommended to schedule a dental checkup at least once a year for most pets. However, some breeds may require more frequent checkups.

Help Your Pet Live Longer

Dental disease is the #1 illness that affects pets' heart, kidney, and lung function. When left untreated, dental disease can cause significant pain and discomfort in the teeth and gums, and risk infection spreading into the bone of the jaw or to the rest of the body. By age 3, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs have dental disease. That's a lot of pets, but dental disease is entirely preventable - and we're here to help!

Join the Watson's Friends Animal Hospital Family Today!

Phone: 941-297-0880

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