Dental Care is not always the first health concern of a pet owner, but this February as it is pet dental care month, we would like to ask owners to take a few minutes to check their pet’s teeth and mouth.
Dental care is not just a cosmetic thing; the condition of an animal’s teeth can have a big impact on its overall health. Dogs and cats rely more heavily on their teeth than we do – we can use a knife and fork! Cats use them as a hunting tool and defence mechanism as well as to chew their food. Rabbits and rodents need to have a diet that will keep their teeth healthy and rabbits especially need to gnaw hay and food that will keep their incisors worn down as they are continuously growing.
According to research from the American Veterinary Medicine Association, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of dental disease by the time they are 3 years old.
Pet Dental Care – How to examine teeth and gums:
Cats – with caution, most cats will not appreciate you touching their mouth so be very careful, if you can, lift the upper lip and look along both gums – top and bottom on both sides.
Dogs are usually more agreeable to having their mouths examined but still use caution. Again, lift the upper lip and check the teeth and gums all the way to the back of the mouth. If the teeth are yellowing, or there is the beginning of a build up of plaque and tartar, you should book in for a dental check with one of our qualified veterinary nurses.
Following this check up, we can recommend one of the two brands of pet toothpaste we stock and show you how to clean the teeth. We also stock Hills t/d food which has been created to reduce plaque, staining and tartar build up.
In some cases, your pet may need a dental. This involves putting the animal under general anesthetic, descaling the teeth to remove tartar, polishing the teeth and removing any bad teeth. This is a common procedure and the pet can go home the same day. It can greatly improve their quality of life as it will help to get rid of pain.
Leaving dental disease too long can ultimately cause infection to travel in the blood stream to the internal organs which will cause problems for the animal’s long term health. So, let us help you to keep your pets gnashers in check, don’t wait until there is a problem.
Some things you can do yourself to help your pets teeth:
- There are a number of brushes and toothpaste options available. Don’t use human toothpaste as this is not to be swallowed.
- Feed dry food instead of wet food as it helps reduce the build up of plaque and tartar.
- Feed pets once or twice a day; don’t leave food out for grazing as food build up on teeth is one of the main causes of plaque build up.
- Give them chew toys or hard/course treats.
- Check the mouth often.
FREE DENTAL CHECKS IN FEBRUARY
Throughout the month of February, we are offering free dental checks with our qualified veterinary nurses. If you would like us to examine your pets teeth or have any questions about pet dental care, please book your appointment by calling Karen on 053 9142891.