Pugs and Dental Disease

Originally Written for Pug Partners of Nebraska – Please visit their website to find out how you can help Pugs!

Pugs develop plague and tartar more quickly than many other breeds, and often have more severe secondary problems.  Acclimate your Pug to having his or her mouth checked.

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This will pave the way for future brushings, and prepare your pet for when you may need to check the mouth for a foreign body or a painful area or just assess their mouth for overall health.

The best way to prevent dental problems is to brush your pet’s teeth daily.  This is also the most time consuming and annoying way to prevent dental problems. If you can do it consistently, you may be able to avoid yearly dental cleanings under anesthesia.  If you can do it inconsistently, you may limit the severity of dental disease, and be able to increase the intervals between dental cleanings.

Other things may help limit dental disease, most notably things your pet can chew. Always weigh the risk of broken teeth or material becoming lodged in the intestinal tract against the benefit that would be attained. Bones are generally considered unsafe.  Kongs, rawhides, rope toys and dental chews such as Greenies and Nylabones are relatively safe, but their use should be supervised.

Special (prescription or non-prescription) diets may help mechanically remove plaque.  Dental rinses and some foods contain enzymes or binders that break down plaque before it is allowed to harden into tartar.

Oral exams should be done by your veterinarian every six months, and, of course, more often if you have concerns. If any areas of pain or infection are present, or if tartar build-up is significant, your veterinarian will probably recommend a dental cleaning. This is the same cleaning you or I would receive at our dentist, including gum pocket measurements, tooth scaling and polishing. However, pets are placed under general anesthesia so they are completely immobile, they will not be frightened and a thorough job can be done.

Before your pet’s dental cleaning, your veterinarian will obtain a health history, perform a complete physical exam and run preanesthetic laboratory tests, including a complete blood profile.

Your pet will be anesthetized and maintained on gas anesthesia. Intravenous fluids will be given, your pet will be monitored by an anesthetist aided by machines to measure his or her heart and respiratory function and blood pressure, and a second person will perform the dental work. A veterinarian will be present at all times, and will assess the mouth and do any extractions if needed. Dental procedures are among the most common anesthetic events in most veterinary hospitals and can be done with minimal risk. Pets typically go home later the same afternoon.

Dental disease can cause oral infections, infections in other organs, and significant pain. Do all you can between dental cleanings to minimize dental disease, and have dental cleanings done as often as needed. With good oral care, at home and by the veterinary team, most problems caused by dental disease can be mitigated or avoided all together.

Stephanie Alford’s Beautiful Daphne and Very Cute Typhoon!

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