Being a pet owner can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it also means taking on the responsibility of providing the best care you possibly can for your four-legged family members. One important aspect of keeping your beloved pets healthy is making sure they get regular dental cleanings – after all, proper oral hygiene is essential to not only their teeth and gums, but also their overall wellbeing! But when should these checkups start? Read on as we explore the importance of dental cleanings in pet health and discuss when to begin this important routine with our furry friends.

#1: Your pet has persistent deciduous teeth

Do you have a Chihuahua or Yorkie puppy that you’ve nicknamed “Baby Shark,” and not because of their penchant for gnawing on your fingers? If your 6- to 7-month-old pet has persistent deciduous teeth, or baby teeth, that did not fall out when the adult teeth began to grow in, they need a professional dental cleaning now. Those baby teeth that are still in place can cause a host of periodontal problems, such as trauma to the oral tissue and significant tartar accumulation. In addition to extractions, a full dental cleaning also may be recommended because of tartar accumulation on the adult teeth that were positioned too close to the baby teeth.

#2: You notice bad breath or tartar accumulation on your pet’s teeth

While smaller breeds and pets with flat faces are more likely to develop early tartar accumulation, some larger breeds also can have the same problem. So, even if your pet is not 3 years old yet, which is the age when up to 85% of our furry friends have developed dental disease, they may already need a dental cleaning. Flip your pet’s lip up and closely examine their teeth for yellow, brown, or gray plaque and tartar buildup. And, if your furry pal’s breath is worse than the typical “doggy breath,” they may have a hidden periodontal problem causing disease and necessitating a professional pet dental cleaning.

#3: Your veterinarian tells you it’s time

During your pet’s wellness visits, our veterinarians will examine their mouth for signs of dental disease and other oral issues. If they say your furry pal needs a dental cleaning, that means they are seeing painful gingivitis, disease-causing tartar, or other serious periodontal problems that need treatment.

Are you unsure when your pet should have their first dental cleaning? Schedule an oral exam with our team to stay on top of your furry pal’s oral health care.