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Teeth Cleaning At Your Groomers, Is It Safe?

Though often overlooked, oral care is just as important in dogs and cats as it is in humans. As very few of us clean our pet’s teeth as often as our own, it can be tempting to outsource deeper cleaning services from grooming businesses. But is it safe? This article takes a dive into the dangers of tooth cleaning and how to avoid them.

The Dangers of Using The Groomers

Dental disease is one of the most common diseases in dogs and cats and can be very uncomfortable for your pet. Whilst good dental hygiene can help keep it at bay and help spot the early signs of inflammation, having your pet's teeth cleaned at the groomers poses its own risks.

A quick search on ‘Google’ reveals just how easy it is to find pet teeth cleaning services outside of veterinary practices. With many groomers promoting “Anaesthetic free teeth cleaning” for just a small fee (or even an add-on for grooming packages), it can be easy to fall into the marketing trap. It’s important to note that this up-selling scheme has derived from groomers attempting to promote their revenue when actually these ads create false pretences and often cause more harm than good. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Groomers that do offer teeth cleaning services are often not well enough trained to understand the dangers of deep cleaning.

  • Scaling the teeth releases bacteria into the bloodstream through the gums which groomers aren’t equipped to deal with.

  • Your pet will be conscious for the whole procedure and therefore be exposed to unnecessary stress and even pain.

  • Groomers will only be able to scale visible tartar with hand tools, whereas vets can scale all tartar.

  • Groomers will not be looking out for separate health problems that are shown in dental examinations.

  • Scaling teeth with hand tools leaves deep grooves in the enamel which must be polished away, or else the grooves will accumulate tartar much quicker.

From The Experts Mouth

We spoke to veterinary dental expert Dr Dave Nicol on his thoughts of dental work outside of veterinary practices, here’s what he had to say:

"60% of a dog's tooth is hidden beneath the gum and cannot be seen or explored using the naked eye. 80% of all tooth problems happen in this area. A good dental examination absolutely cannot be performed on an awake animal. After 20 years as a veterinary dental specialist, I still could not assess teeth well when the conscious patient.

There is absolutely no doubt that a groomer performing a "dental" will miss almost every problem and leave your dog's mouth untreated but leave you [the pet owner] thinking they're ok.

The only way to check your dog’s teeth fully is through X-rays under sedation at a veterinary practice.

Absolutely do not have your pet’s teeth cleaned by a groomer."

How And When To Clean Your Pet’s Teeth

Whilst we don’t condemn cleaning services from groomers, it is important to keep up with your pet’s oral health, and therefore regularly brushing them is important.

Teeth cleaning should be introduced to your pet from an early age to get them used to it, however, it is not too late to start now!

You should aim to brush your dog's or cat's teeth at least once a week, however, we suggest brushing them once a day to keep the plaque and tartar at bay.

When brushing your pet's teeth, it’s important to make it a positive experience and therefore providing lots of cuddles, treats and reassurance is essential. It’s best to use dog or cat toothpaste (human ones are not recommended), and a dog or cat toothbrush (a child’s toothbrush will also be OK). Start by brushing their teeth gently in a circular motion to allow them to get used to the sensation and then brush vertically to dislodge plaque. After brushing, always reward your pet. Positive reinforcement will help them think of tooth brushing as a positive experience.

How We Can Help?

At Roundwood, we offer descaling and polishing your pet’s teeth. This is normally something your pet will need around the age of 5 or 6. A general anaesthetic is necessary for your pet for this procedure, so that we can clean both above and below the gum line safely, your pet's anaesthetic will be monitored by our fully qualified team making this procedure as safe as possible. Descaling is important to remove plaque and tartar, whilst polishing smooths the surface which reduces the speed of tartar buildup in future. We also take X-rays of all the teeth to assess each tooth to ensure it is healthy and not causing any issues or pain for the patient.

Whilst you’re pet is under general anaesthetic, we can also check for:

  • Broken or fractured teeth: these can be painful and also allow bacteria to build and cause abscesses and infections.

  • Signs of gum disease: early gum disease is reversible so catching it prematurely is important.

  • Missing teeth

  • Overlapping teeth or rotating teeth: these can be uncomfortable whilst your pet eats and can be easily removed.

  • Loose teeth: again these can be uncomfortable and can be easily removed.

  • Cysts and tumours

To learn more about our dental services, click here or call 020 8459 4729 to book your dental check-up today.

Order Dr Hannah Parkin's Amazing Guide To Caring For Your New Puppy.
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