Around 80% of domestic cats and dogs in Australia suffer from dental disease and it can be a painful and debilitating problem that leads to even more serious conditions.
Dental disease is often hard for pet owners to detect. Most owners assume that if their pet is chewing and eating normally, then their teeth are fine. However, animals learn to adapt their eating to avoid causing themselves pain, or simply become better at bearing it. The most effective way to determine whether your pet suffers from dental disease is to bring them in for a consultation with one of our veterinarians.
What causes dental disease in pets?
Dental disease begins with a build-up of tartar and calculus which is caused by tooth overcrowding and lack of chewing. Over time, the build-up causes decay, pain, gum inflammation, and tooth loss. If this is left untreated, the bacteria can then affect important organs such as the heart and kidneys, leading to life threatening conditions.
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
Dental disease is completely treatable with a combination of veterinary care and lifestyle changes. Here are five key things you can do to keep your pet’s teeth healthy.
- Bring your pet in for a complimentary dental check-up
If you are a regular client of Vets on Balwyn, we offer free dental checks as part of your pet’s annual health assessments. Get in touch with our clinic today if you’d like to book a dental care consultation with one of our veterinary nurses.
- Get your pet chewing for at least five minutes a day
Chewing helps remove tartar and calculus build up. To get your pet chewing, provide them with dried chewable treats such as raw hides, pigs ears or soft raw bones for dogs and raw bones or chicken necks for cats. Avoid marrow bones as these can fracture your dog’s teeth and have a high fat content which can upset the stomach. Never feed your pet cooked bones as these can splinter and cause serious injury.
- Choose a diet designed to improve dental health such as Hills Science Diet T/D
Hills Science Diet T/D is the gold standard in dietary dental care and can easily be incorporated into your pet’s diet. It promotes chewing and reduces tartar and calculus build-up.
- Tooth brushing and anti-bacterial mouth rinses
Brushing your pet’s teeth is a great way to physically remove build-up but you must train them to do it. To do this you need to start when they are young, using a small, soft toothbrush and pet friendly toothpaste (pets cannot use human toothpaste).Anti-bacterial mouthwash can also be used to keep bacteria populations under control. If used daily, mouthwash will minimise bad breath and reduce the risk of periodontal disease.
- Veterinary dental care services
Sometimes, it’s necessary for your pet to undergo a scale and polish to remove build up or have a dental procedure to remove infected or damaged teeth. At Vets on Balwyn, all dental procedures are performed onsite with state of the art ultrasonic cleaning equipment. Once your pet has undergone a cleaning or extraction procedure, our team will work with you to create a dental care plan tailored to your pet’s needs.