The Importance of Oral Hygiene for Pets

Board-certified veterinarian Joel Todd Leroy Prince currently serves as medical partner with Elmhurst Animal Care Center in Elmhurst, Illinois, where he offers comprehensive pet care for small animals such as dogs, cats, birds, and reptiles. In addition to veterinary vaccinations and surgery, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince and clinic staff advise on aspects of pet care, including oral health.

Oral hygiene is essential to maintaining a pet’s overall health. Not only does keeping an animal’s teeth clean promote a healthy smile, it can also prevent painful periodontal disease. By age 3, 70% of dogs and cats show signs of gum disease. By age 1, pets should receive a thorough exam that identifies any problems or issues with teeth, gums, or oral cavities. After that, pets should visit the dentist annually for cleaning, polishing, and fluoride treatment.

To promote oral health at home, pet owners can brush their pet’s teeth a few times a week. They can also purchase tooth-friendly dry dog foods and biscuits, which can slow down the build-up of plaque and tartar, while chew toys strengthen teeth, massage the pet’s gums, and scrape away tartar.

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About the ABVP Diplomate Designation

As the proprietor of Elmhurst Animal Care Center, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince continues a 30-year-long career in veterinary medicine. Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince is a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP).

Fewer than 1,000 professionals worldwide are ABVP diplomates. The accolade recognizes veterinarians who have dedicated themselves to the profession and who demonstrate professional knowledge that exceeds the expertise of their contemporaries. Because the ABVP diplomate typically has completed more training than non-diplomate veterinarians, the diplomate’s clients can expect their pets to receive a higher quality of care.

The process of becoming an ABVP diplomate takes at least three years to finish. Those who apply for eligibility must have the proper education credentials, complete at least six years of clinical practice before taking the diplomate examination, and evince strong moral and ethical behavior. Moreover, veterinarians must have a recognized veterinary specialty such as food animal and dairy practice, equine practice, or reptile and amphibian practice.

Becoming A Small Animal Veterinarian

Joel Todd Leroy Prince is a partner with the Elmhurst Animal Care Center in Elmhurst, Illinois. As a veterinarian with more than 25 years of experience, Joel Todd Leroy Prince is board certified in small animal practice.

Small animal veterinarians must complete an accredited DVM program before completing additional work to become licensed to handle cats, dogs, exotic animals, and other companion pets like birds. According to studies conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), about three quarters of licensed veterinarians work in a private practice, with many choosing to focus on small animals and pets. While vets must graduate from a DVM program and then pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE) before becoming eligible to practice on small animals, most vets make the decision because they want to work on pets rather animals that serve other purposes. Accordingly, many small animal veterinarians will also treat larger companion animals such as horses or large canines.