Pets and People

Dental Care for Dogs: Tips and Tricks

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Whether it's for a professional cleaning or because your dog was up all night with a toothache, make his trip to the dentist as comfortable as possible.

Start by researching which veterinary dentists are in your area. Unless it's an emergency, ask your vet or other pet parents for their recommendations. If it's convenient, make a dry run to let your dog say "hello" to the staff, sniff out the waiting room and sample a treat. This lets you both check out the place and helps your dog feel more agreeable about future visits.

When you set up your appointment, find out anything you'd like to know: if you'll be able to stay with your pet, if they accept your veterinary insurance (if you have it) or any other questions on your mind. Be sure to ask if you need to follow any instructions before his visit. If he's having a dental procedures -- even a cleaning -- he may be given an anesthetic, so proper preparation is important.

You may have dental anxiety, but your dog doesn't have to know it. Your faithful companion has become a master at reading your emotions, so if you act nervous come appointment day, he'll worry, too. Hop in the car and head to the office as you would any other fun outing. And tuck a reward in your pocket. If his teeth hurt, bring something soft like baby food or peanut butter.

During the appointment, don't hesitate to ask questions and gather as much information as you need. If you're uncertain about something, go home and do some research, or consider a second opinion.

Good dental care, both at home and from a professional, is a big part of keeping your dog healthy. With some patience and dedication, it can easily become a part of your lifestyle.

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