Promote dental wellness in pets

Promote dental wellness in pets

If your veterinary practice is falling behind in the number of dental procedures, it's time for change—both in the services you provide and how you're recommending them.
Jun 01, 2013
By staff

The release of the 2013 American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats probably has a few veterinary practices evaluating and aiming to improve their preventive oral healthcare procedures this year. Packed with details about educating clients on the importance of routine dental care for their animals as well as information about the proper equipment and materials to perform medically appropriate dental procedures, the guidelines set the standard for practicing the highest quality dental care possible. But in order for veterinary practices to really do better, it’s going to take more than just resolve.

It takes a lot of time, money and energy to do everything the guidelines recommend, but it’ll be well worth it, says Brian Conrad, CVPM, practice manager for Meadow Hills Veterinary Centers in Kennewick, Wash., and contributor to Veterinary Economics and Firstline. “It’s all hands on deck if you’re going to implement the guidelines the right way,” he says.

Conrad explains that since the AAHA guidelines are written from a clinical perspective with veterinarians and technicians in mind, it’s critical that practices get the entire team on board with a plan before oral healthcare recommendations are given to clients in the exam room. Not only is it critical that your practice has the right equipment and staff expertise to perform the recommended procedures, but it’s also important to make sure your team is prepared to discuss preventive care with pet owners, get them in the door to have the work done and stress the importance of follow-up home care and yearly dental visits.

“No matter how many dental procedures you do this year, it’s meaningless if clients aren’t coming back the next year for follow-up care,” says Conrad.

For a step-by-step plan to help implement these dental guidelines in your practice and to make preventive oral healthcare a priority, visit and download a gameplan for making it happen.

Hot topics on dvm360

Veterinarians: Your clients are going to Google with these cat questions

Search engine shares the top 10 questions people asked about dogs and cats in 2014.

Vetcetera: The complex topic of canine fear-related aggression

A guided tour of resources for addressing this popular and complicated subject, featuring advice from Dr. John Ciribassi.

Reality TV and the veterinarian: Discussing mainstream dog training advice with clients

Your clients may be getting behavior advice from cable TV. Get your opinion in the mix.

Blog: Election results pose obstacles for veterinary prescription law

Flip in U.S. Senate's majority may slow progress of Fairness to Pet Owners Act.

7 steps to a better relationship between veterinarians and rescue groups

A DVM in the city shares his advice to veterinary practices for working with rescues.