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What to Expect from Your Dog’s First Dental Exam

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

dog licking an ice cream

Our four-legged companions need oral care just like us- but what exactly goes into a dog dental exam? To keep your dog healthy with a mouth full of pearly whites, you should schedule regular visits with your dog's dentist.

Your dog’s first dental exam can be overwhelming. You want to learn as much as you can about your pet’s oral health, but there’s too much information to take in! Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Here, we’ll break down what you can expect to occur during your dog’s first dental exam.

The Importance of Regular Dental Exams

Taking care of your dog isn't about just buying them the best food, providing enough exercise, and smothering them with love. It's also making sure that your dog maintains good dental care as it’s one of the essential parts of its overall wellbeing.

Without proper dental care, your pup could end up with a periodontal disease, which can cause significant health issues.

Periodontal disease can lead to an abscessed tooth that causes pain and loss of appetite. In addition, the bacteria living in your dog's mouth could potentially enter the bloodstream, causing severe problems in their heart, joints, and liver.

Signs of periodontal disease are bad breath (outside of the regular dog breath), swollen gums, discoloured or decaying teeth, missing teeth, and loss of appetite.

Don't wait until you see signs of something wrong to search out a dentist for your dog. To stay on top of your canine's oral health, try to schedule a dental exam once a year, though this can vary from dog to dog.

What to Expect From Your Dog's First Dental Exam

Most dogs can see their first dog dentist by six months of age. It's easier to start this routine with a puppy with healthy teeth than with an older dog with decaying teeth.

The dental visit will start with an oral examination to assess your dog's health and jaw structure and a possible administration of pre-meds.

Next, your dog will receive an x-ray to ensure the vet doesn't miss any hidden diseases or problems. There is no need to worry if your dog is scared or anxious; they will be sedated during the procedure.

While your dog is under sedation, the cleaning and polishing begin.

First, plaque and tartar build-up is removed from above and below the gum line. Once everything is scraped away, your dog's dentist will polish their teeth to get them looking shiny and prevent further build-up.

The dentist will also look for other potential issues such as fractured or chipped teeth, gum disease, and tumors. Suppose they discover any issues outside of your dog's regular teeth cleaning. In that case, they may consult you while your dog is sedated so you can discuss a plan of action.

Before And After Your Dog's Dental Exam

Before your dog's exam and cleaning, you and the vet will discuss its health history. Be prepared for your vet to perform a comprehensive physical exam which could include taking blood and urine samples. Once the lab has results, the vet will alert you to any possible health issues and discuss the best procedure for your dog's dental exam.

Your vet may also ask you to withhold food for the evening so your pet doesn't get sick during the procedure.

After, the vet will review the exam with you, let you know of any complications or future problems, and possibly prescribe pain meds to keep your pup comfortable.

Your dog might be groggy for a few hours once home but should be back to its happy self by the evening or the following day.

Be prepared to pick up wipes, soft dental chews, or new food based on your vet's recommendations. Your vet may also ask you back for a follow-up if any complications arose.

To keep up with your dog's dental care at home, try brushing their teeth two-to-three times a week!

Trust Kato Animal Hospital for All Your Furry Friends’ Needs

At Kato Animal Hospital in Toronto, we want to make sure your animals are comfortable during their visit and in their best health when you take them home.

If you ever have any more questions about what to expect from your dog's first dental exam, don't hesitate to contact our office, and we'll walk you through any concerns.

We provide so much more than pet dental services in Toronto, so please get in touch with us to learn more about pet grooming, boarding, surgeries, x-rays, and other services for your dogs and cats.


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