The importance of dental care for pets

Dental care is important for pets as it reduces the chances of them developing gum disease. As a pet owner, it’s incredibly important to help your pet maintain their dental hygiene as much as possible.

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Dental care is important for pets as it reduces the chances of them developing gum disease. As a pet owner, it’s incredibly important to help your pet maintain their dental hygiene as much as possible. Ideally, you should aim to clean your pet’s teeth daily, although, if this isn’t possible, 3-4 times a week is sufficient. We share the importance of dental care for pets.

Dogs and cats with dental disease rarely stop eating completely and do generally continue to behave relatively normally despite, in many instances, experiencing quite severe and significant problems. In the earlier stages of some conditions, there may be very few signs and no pain but early recognition and interventional treatment can be important to prevent the problem from worsening. Even when conditions are more advanced, the symptoms are often subtle and frequently go unnoticed.

Possible Symptoms of Dental Disease

If your pet is co-operative you may be able to look inside his or her mouth. Or you might be able to take a brief hands-off look when your pet yawns or pants. Should dental disease start to develop, there are common signs to look out for;

  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Grumpy behaviour
  • May be head shy and resent mouth being touched
  • Poor grooming
  • Often withdrawn and spend more time sleeping – this is especially so with cats
  • May avoid harder food
  • May avoid eating on one side of the mouth
  • There may be swelling or discharge on the side of face
  • Rubbing/pawing at their mouth
  • Drooling or crustiness around their lips
  • Often may go towards their food bowl but walk away and not eat or just lick the softer food.

Effective treatment is almost always possible and can prevent significant discomfort and poor health. Should your pet display one or more of the symptoms listed, please call your nearest practice and make an appointment.

Preventative Tips

  • Try to incorporate your pet’s dental hygiene into a daily routine to help reduce build up bacteria in their mouth
  • Introduce dental sticks which help remove plaque and food stuck in the gumline, although they shouldn’t be used as the main source of dental hygiene
  • Dental treats are high in sugar and fat and should be given sparingly. A great alternative to treats would be carrots and courgettes
  • There are specially formulated and processed dental foods that effectively clean your pet’s teeth and prevent the build-up of plaque – Pet chews and are an excellent addition to routine tooth brushing
  • Avoid feeding pets table scraps because they can increase the build-up of plaque and tartar and can lead to other health problems
  • Tooth-friendly toys can help clean your dog’s teeth as they chew.

If you would like further information on the importance of dental care for pets, please book in with one of our clinic nurses at your local practice.

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