Taking Care of Your Pet’s Dental HealthBy Sam Weeks | October 7, 2020
Proper dental management is one of the most important elements of pet care. Looking after your pet’s oral health will help prevent a broad range of infections and health issues including periodontal disease, crooked and cracked teeth and gum infections.
Dental issues can also act as an indication of more extensive and underlying health problems. Bad breath, for example, can be a symptom of diabetes which is why it’s vital to have your pet’s teeth, gums and mouth checked by a professional vet on a regular basis.
In addition to this, there are a range of simple, routine tasks that you can undertake at home to keep your furry friend healthy and happily chomping away.
The most common dental issue in animals is periodontal disease, which affects an estimated 85% of dogs and cats over four years old. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums due to the buildup of plaque and bacteria. It can be very painful and ultimately result in cracked and rotting teeth. In more serious cases, bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause a range of potentially life-threatening infections.
Given the degree to which animals (dogs in particular) love to chew on toys and bones, cracked teeth is another common dental problem. A cracked tooth left unattended can expose the root of the nerve, which is painful and has the potential to cause further and ongoing health issues.
Home dental care
It is very important to visit a professional vet on a regular basis, as they have the knowledge and experience to diagnose all manner of conditions. However, there are a range of pet care activities you can undertake at home to keep gums and teeth healthy and well-maintained.
The single best thing that you can do for your pet’s oral health is to brush their teeth on a regular basis. Just as we require daily brushing to prevent the build up of plaque, our four-legged companions also benefit from routine care.
It is best to select a soft toothbrush — one designed for a toddler should be suitable however cat and dog toothbrushes are also available. Animals have a tendency to swallow toothpaste, which may upset their stomach if you are using a product designed for humans. Pet toothpaste is available (in a variety of animal friendly flavours including beef and chicken) and is recommended by vets.
You can buy liquids and foam products that can help keep your pet’s mouth clean, as well as toys and treats to assist with the removal of plaque. Be sure to speak to your vet before making any purchases as they will be able to advise you on the right product.
When to see a professional
Before undertaking any form of home care, it’s a good idea to have your vet show you how to correctly brush your pet’s teeth. The last thing that you want to do is cause damage to your pet’s mouth and gums.
You should also seek out professional advice whenever your pet displays any of the following symptoms:
- Bad breath
- Broken teeth
- Abnormal chewing patterns, including drooling and dropping food from the mouth
- Reduced appetite
- Bleeding and swelling from the mouth.
These can signal more serious conditions and it’s important that your vet is able to diagnose the issue as soon as possible, so that an effective course of treatment can be undertaken.
Vets on Call offers a broad range of pet care services, including cat and dog teeth cleaning. Our mobile vets in Melbourne can complete a full pet dental checkup during a consultation and can advise whether further treatment is necessary. With affordable, transparent pricing and the convenience of an at-home appointment, be sure to reach out to us today for all your veterinary needs.