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Animal Dental Care and Oral Hygiene


Keeping your pet’s mouth healthy benefits his or her entire well-being. In addition to being able to provide dental cleanings and other dental procedures, at Qualicum Beach Animal Hospital, you will find an array of products that will help you keep your pet’s mouth clean and healthy. This includes:

  • Toothpastes, Toothbrushes and Dental Wipes
  • Dental Chews and Dental Diets - formulated to breakdown and prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar

Despite what many people believe, bad breath is NOT normal in dogs or cats – it is usually a sign of a bacterial infection in your pet’s mouth. As in humans, infection in the mouth can lead to bacteria migrating to other places in the body, including the heart, kidneys and brain. If you are concerned that your pet may have something going on in his or her mouth – or if you are unsure, please do not wait to have a veterinarian have a look.

Dental Exams

Many owners are unsure if their animal needs dental care – it can be difficult to look in your pet’s mouth, but dental care is VERY important for overall health. For this reason, dental exams are always included in our annual wellness exams at Qualicum Beach Animal Hospital, not just during “Dental Month”. When you schedule a dental exam, the veterinarian will look in your pet’s mouth to assess whether or not you pet needs a teeth cleaning, teeth extracted, or other procedures. Then the veterinarian can give you a written estimate, and go over the details with you.

In cases where there are signs of infection or pain, antibiotics and pain medication may be prescribed prior to a dental procedure. If we are planning on performing a dental under anesthetic, it is likely that bloodwork will be performed to ensure that your pet is healthy enough to undergo the procedure. The safety of your pet is our main concern!

Animal Dental Care and Oral Hygiene

Dental Cleanings and Extractions

Dental cleanings and extractions are always performed under general anesthesia at Qualicum Beach Animal Hospital. This allows us to be able to use the tools that we need to clean above and below the gum line safely, examine every tooth and other structure in the mouth thoroughly, provide the best pain control available, and safely take dental X-rays if indicated.

Let’s face it – dental procedures can be very costly. Each time we perform a dental procedure, even if it is a routine dental cleaning, there are many steps that we take to make sure that your pet is safe, and that he or she is receiving the highest standards of veterinary care. Here is a list of what your pet will receive if he or she is scheduled to have a dental procedure at our hospital.

  • Full pre-anesthetic physical exam
  • Pre-surgical blood panel – which may include testing the thyroid and a urinalysis if deemed necessary (ex. in a senior pet)
  • IV fluids
  • Tailored anesthetic plan for each pet
  • Full anesthetic monitoring (ECG and heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen level and breathing rate, temperature, gas anesthetic level)
  • Full dental exam under anesthetic - examine individual teeth for mobility, fractures, malocclusion, and periodontal disease
  • Full dental charting
  • Supragingival (above the gum line) cleaning of plaque and tartar using an ultrasonic scaler
  • Subgingival (below the gum line) scaling, root planning, curettage, and flushing with an antiseptic solution
  • Polishing of the teeth
  • Intraoral digital dental X-rays if deemed necessary
  • Local anesthetic blocks for added pain control if teeth need to be extracted
  • Extraction of mobile, fractured or infected teeth – followed by careful smoothening of remaining boney sockets with a small dental burr, and sutures placed along the gums
  • Complimentary nail trim
  • Post-surgical nursing care
  • Post-surgical pain medications, anti-inflammatories and antibiotics (if indicated) to go home
  • Detailed home-care instructions
  • Complimentary re-check examination in 10 to 14 days

As you can see, there are many steps and precautions taken when performing a dental procedure properly and safely. Each pet is an individual, and requires a tailored plan when having a dental.

If your pet requires a specialized procedure (ex. a root canal on a fractured tooth), we are able to refer to a veterinary dental specialist that travels to Vancouver Island.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns – or if you would like to schedule a free dental exam for your pet.