Dental disease is extremely common and undertreated problem found in around 80% of domestic dogs and cats in Australia.
Whilst your pet might look perfectly happy gobbling down food, animals often learn to chew in a way that doesn’t agitate painful dental conditions, so it’s quite possible that your pet has something wrong with its teeth but isn’t showing any symptoms.
What causes it?
Lack of chewing and tooth overcrowding are two of the most common causes of tartar and calculus build up. This build up in turn causes decay, tooth loss, gum inflammation and pain. Over time, the build-up of bacteria can begin to affect important organs such as the heart and kidneys.
Signs of dental disease include:
- Inflamed gums (gingivitis)
- Bad breath
- Discoloured teeth
- Loose teeth
- Excessive drooling
- Reluctance to eat hard food or chew
- Facial swelling
- Changes in behaviour (aggression, disrupted sleep patterns)
Maintaining your pet’s dental health
Happily, dental disease is completely treatable with a combination of veterinary and at home care. Below are five key steps you should take to ensure your pet has healthy teeth and gums throughout its life.
- Take advantage of our free dental check-up services
As part of your pet’s regular health assessments, we offer free dental checks and advice. Call us today if you’d like to book a complimentary dental care consultation with one of our experienced veterinary nurses.
- Promote daily chewing
Aim to have your pet chewing for a minimum of five minutes each day. To do this, you should provide your pet with either dried chewable treats such as raw hides and pigs ears, or soft raw bones. It’s best to avoid marrow bones as these have the potential to fracture a dog’s teeth and have a high fat content which can upset the stomach. Under no circumstances should you ever feed your pet cooked bones as these can easily splinter and cause serious injury.
- Choose a diet designed to improve dental health such as Hills Science Diet T/D
The gold standard in dental care, Hills Science Diet T/D is designed to promote chewing and reduce both tartar and calculus build up. It can be easily incorporated as a part of your pet’s complete diet to promote dental health.
- Tooth brushing and anti-bacterial mouth rinses
Some pets can be trained to allow you to brush their teeth and this is a great way to physically remove build-up. It’s ideal to start training your pet when young using small soft toothbrushes and toothpaste designed for pets (human toothpaste is not suitable for pets), both of which are available from our clinic.
To keep bacteria populations under control, we also recommend the use of anti-bacterial mouth rinse. When used daily, this mouth rinse will help minimise bad breath and periodontal disease caused by bacteria.
- Veterinary dental care
In some instances, your veterinarian may recommend your pet undergo a professional scale and polish to prevent the onset of dental disease and tooth loss or a dental procedure to extract infected and damaged teeth.
Our dental procedures are all performed onsite using state of the art ultrasonic cleaning equipment to ensure the best possible health outcome for your pet. After cleaning has been performed, our dental care team will devise a dental care plan tailored to suit the needs of your pet.