Dogs, cats, hamsters, just like us, they all have teeth. Teeth need to be looked after, regardless of species. You might find it surprising to know that 80% of pet dogs, and 70% of domestic cats, suffer from a dental disease.

Pets get plaque on their teeth just like we do; plaque is a buildup of food, bacteria and saliva. Humans brush their teeth and remove this; it is part of our morning and evening routines. Not everyone knows the importance of cleaning dogs and cats teeth; least of all the dogs and cats. Plaque that is left to build-up; above and below the gum line; it calcifies and turns into tartar. If left untreated, the yellow-brown tartar damages the teeth, gums, and in extreme cases, even the jaw.

Tartar puts your pet’s whole mouth and overall health at risk. We have put together a condensed list to show the importance of pet oral health.
Tartar destroys the following:

  • Supportive Tissue. This is the connective tissue in the mouth. Your pet needs their jaw bone to eat, drink water and communicate.
  • Red or bleeding gums. Pain from sensitive or bleeding gums will lead to a loss in appetite.
  • Bad Breath. A smelly mouth might not sound serious but it could be a sign of a bigger problem.
  • Loose teeth. To be able to have a balanced diet and stay health your pet needs all their teeth.

Not treating the tartar can have serious effects on your pet’s overall health. The infection can spread to other parts of the body, including the kidneys, liver and even heart.

How to treat dental disease?

When you take your pet for a check-up, book a dental check-up too. That way your pet’s dental health has a regular examination. If need be your pet will undergo a professional clean; while under anaesthetic. The veterinarian uses anaesthetic to keep the animal still and not cause any unnecessary stress for your pet. Before the actual cleaning begins the vet will do a thorough examination to record the condition of your pet’s teeth; see if any are missing, determine how much tartar there is and to check the condition of your pet’s gums.

After the examination our vet removes the tartar using a similar tool to a human dentist. The ultrasonic scaler removes tartar from above the gum line. The vet uses a special paste to polish your pet’s teeth and if there is no need for extraction then the procedure is over.

The vet prescribes antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medication, only if it is necessary. When the veterinary team completes all the required work, they turn off the anesthesia, and your furry friend wakes up. When they have recovered sufficiently from the anaesthetic they can go home. In most cases, pets go home the afternoon of same day.

Following a proper cleaning by a vet, you need a plan to prevent the buildup of tartar in the future. This may involve regular brushing of your pet’s teeth, feeding raw bones and may also include a special diet, it all depends on the severity of the plaque and tartar build up. It is recommended that all you have your pet checked 6 months after dental cleaning to see if your dental care routine is effective in keeping the teeth and gums clean and healthy.

How can I reduce the effects of ongoing dental disease?

There are a few ways to help prevent or minimise ongoing dental disease. Here are few things you can do:

  • Brush your pet’s teeth. Older dogs which have not been trained to have their teeth brushed could make it really difficult. Make sure to use pet toothpaste because human toothpaste is not good for your pets at all. If your pet just won’t allow their teeth to be brushes speak to the Vet.
  • Feed them raw meaty bones. The action of chewing the bones helps scrape off plaque and massages their gums. Chewing on bones is a great way to help clean dogs and cat’s teeth. Special diet.
  • Specialised foods for dental health are available, for both dogs and cats. Certain fruit and vegetables help to clean their mouth too, such as carrots, apples and pumpkin. Enzymatic chews and dental biscuits are a great addition to their diet.
  • Dental toys. Dogs and cats love to play. Why not double up play time with teeth cleaning time, and the toys are fun so they won’t even know.

To minimise the need for professional cleanings and anaesthetic follow a routine that works and monitor your pet’s oral health regularly. For any questions, advice or bookings contact our expert vets.

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