Dental disease is extremely common in pets, especially as they age. Unclean teeth are prone to bacteria and viruses. Dental disease will allow these bacteria to enter the blood vessels and body, leading to more serious health problems.
- Heavy tartar deposits
- Loose, broken or diseased teeth
- Inflamed gums
- Smelly Breath
- Pain when eating
Pets should have a dental check-up once a year to determine if there are any early symptoms of dental disease and to maintain oral health. After a basic examination of the pet’s mouth, the pet will receive a thorough dental care, including scaling and polishing, and the pet needs to be anesthetized during the cleaning process.
Owners can also help pets with home dental care:
- Cleaning your pet’s teeth daily can help delay the need for a dental in the future
- You should brush your pet’s teeth at a time when they are calm and relaxed. Set a routine so they come to expect it and get used to it.
- You should use a dog/cat toothbrush (softer bristles and angled to make it easier) and dog/cat toothpaste as they come in dog/cat friendly flavours and don’t contain chemicals that will hurt your pet’s stomach like human toothpaste does.
- Get them used to the procedure by running your fingers over their gums and teeth.
- Put the toothpaste on your finger and let them lick it off (like a treat) so they get used to it.
- When they are used to you touching their mouth, you can try gently brushing with the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle against the teeth to clean off the plaque.
- Aim for 2 minutes of brushing. You may have to work up to this over a period of days/weeks. Start with the back teeth as that’s where more plaque and tartar builds up.
- After brushing, reward them with a treat or extra attention so they learn to enjoy the process.