Dental disease is a common problem in small animals. It is estimated that 85% of dogs and cats over the age of three are suffering from some form of periodontal disease. It is a commonly over looked condition that is not just uncomfortable and painful for our pets. When left untreated leaves pets at serious risk of health problems. Bad bacteria that live in the mouth can make their way into the blood stream and travel to vital organs causing infection and damage.
Signs of Dental problems
- Bad breath
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- Tartar and plaque visible on the teeth
- Pawing at the mouth
- Discomfort when chewing
Prevention is better than cure
It’s never too late to start looking after your pets teeth at home. To reduce the risk of dental disease there are some very simple steps we can take as owners.
Feeding a dry food diet can reduce the buildup of plaque on teeth. When the tooth bites into the dry kibble it causes a mild abrasive action that will help sweep plaque off the teeth. It is best to feed in two meals a day rather than having food available all the time.
Some treats and toys can also help to reduce the buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth. Rawhide treats, hard rubber toys and nylon chews will stimulate the teeth and gums helping to keep them healthy.
Brushing your pet’s teeth is the most effective way of ensuring good dental hygiene. We recommend starting to brush teeth as early in life as possible but it’s never too late to start. A gradual introduction to teeth brushing is the best approach.
- Start by getting your pet used to you being around their mouth. It should be made a really positive experience. Check their teeth by lifting the upper lip to assess the teeth and gums.
- The first time brushing teeth you should use a clean, soft cloth on the front teeth and gently rub in a circular motion. When they get used to this you can introduce some a toothbrush and toothpaste. Human toothpaste should never be used as it can result in an upset tummy. There are several varieties of pet friendly toothpastes available which are flavoured to make it a more enjoyable experience.
- Work the toothbrush from the front to the back teeth in a side to side motion. Again you should build up the time spent each day until you can spend about 45 seconds in each half of the mouth. Generally you will only need to brush the front and bottoms of the teeth as the tongue will clean the back. There is no need to rinse away pet friendly toothpastes.
- A daily brushing routine is recommended as plaque that isn’t cleaned will start to form into tarter in 24-48 hours. Tartar is more difficult to remove and may require a trip to the vets
- Praise and a treat will go a long way in making it a more positive experience
Our staff are always available to help with any questions you may have.