Diseases of the teeth and gums are very common in dogs and cats especially as they get older.
By starting preventive care at a young age you can help maintain the hygiene of your pet’s mouth.
Plaque is a soft, gray film that can be easily removed; tartar forms from accumulation of plaque when calcium and other substances are deposited in the plaque. If your pet has tartar on its teeth a general anaesthetic may be needed to remove it.
There are several simple steps that you can take at home to care for your pet’s teeth.
Feed food that will help the teeth stay clean.
Hill’s T/d diet is a balanced diet that has been designed to ensure the teeth and gums are cleaned every time the dog or cat crunches into the kibble pieces.
Raw meat in large chunks that your pet is forced to chew can help. For a cat, mouse-sized pieces should be fed. For dogs, raw shank or brisket bones are good, while cats can be fed raw chicken wings or necks. Bones are best given to your animal under your supervision. Before feeding bones check with the veterinarian to ensure there are no health reasons why your pet should not be fed raw bones.
Provide rawhide, hard rubber or nylon chew toys or hard treat foods. Remember that treats are a source of calories and may lead to weight problems if too many are given.
Some pets require regular cleaning of their teeth with a tooth brush. This is best done with a special enzymatic dog or cat toothpaste. The toothpaste is used with a very soft dog or cat toothbrush or finger toothbrush.
Do not use human toothpaste. Toothpaste for dogs and cats does not need to be rinsed and is pleasantly flavoured. Brush gently under gum line as well as teeth surfaces so that plaque is removed.
Special dental gels they help to reduce plaque accumulation are available through our clinic. These can be applied with a toothbrush or can be squirted into your pets mouth if they do not like to tooth brush.
Even with the best of home care, teeth need to be checked regularly and some pets will need their teeth scaled and cleaned on a regular basis. Untreated dental disease results in infection and discomfort in the mouth. This can lead to serious problems such as bacteria entering the blood stream and damaging the heart valves or other organs.
Our clinic provides free dental checks all year round. Please ring the clinic to arrange an appointment with one of our nursing team for this examination.