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Guidelines and Implementation Toolkits

By three years of age, most dogs and cats have some level of periodontal disease. Not always apparent to pet owners, periodontal disease can cause oral pain, infection, inflammation, and other health problems, decreasing the quality of life for these pets. After a proper dental procedure, many pet owners report the emergence of a “whole new pet”—one who is happier and more active.

The 2019 AAHA Dental Care Guidelines have been developed to improve the quality of life for pets by helping veterinary practitioners navigate the complex and changing world of veterinary dentistry and:

  • Expand upon their current client education efforts, so clients can better understand that:
    • Periodontal disease can be prevented through regular dental examinations and proper home care
    • If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to chronic pain and suffering
  • Effectively address the fear of anesthesia (the most commonly cited reason pet owners forego proper dental procedures) and convey the risks associated with nonanesthetic dentistry with clients
  • Stress the importance of regular veterinary dental exams and cleanings to clients
  • Revisit anesthetic and analgesic strategies to administer sedation and local and general anesthesia as safely as possible
  • Refresh their understanding of essential steps before, during, and after dental procedures
  • Be confident in their treatment recommendations, including the science behind the dental products approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC)

The 2019 AAHA Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats are supported by generous educational grants from
Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc.,
CareCredit, Hill’s ® Pet Nutrition Inc., and Midmark

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