How you can help your pet…

An animal’s teeth can be brushed just the same as we brush our teeth. In fact, brushing your pet’s teeth can be one of the most effective ways of preventing the build-up of plaque and tartar, and keeping gums healthy.

  • Use either a specially designed pet toothbrush or a soft child’s toothbrush.
  • Start by brushing just the front teeth until your pet gets used to it.
  • If possible, brush your pet’s teeth 3-4 times each week. If this isn’t possible just remember, brushing them properly once a week it is better than never!
  • DON”T USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE! Our toothpaste contains foaming agents. These will cause a stomach upset if swallowed by your pet. Veterinary formulated toothpastes are not only safe for your pet but are also meat flavoured to help make the process more enjoyable.

While brushing your pet’s teeth can make a large difference to their oral health, some animals just don’t like it. Starting while your pet is young can be helpful, but don’t worry if you are not successful. If you are interested in learning how to brush your pet’s teeth, please ask one of our staff to demonstrate for you.

How your pet can help themselves…

In the wild, cats and dogs help keep their teeth clean through chewing on tough tissues such as tendons, skin and bones. Often while eating commercial diets our pets don’t chew their food long enough to clean off plaque or massage their gums sufficiently. To help them, we can supplement their diet or provide objects for them to chew.

Dogs:

Dogs often like to chew on toys and other objects. You can give them rawhide chews, dental toys or even bones. If you decide to give your dog bones, it is VERY important that the bones are large (e.g. canon or brisket bones) and raw. Small or cooked bones can splinter and cause internal damage, or even become stuck in your dog’s digestive tract. Remember, too many bones can cause constipation and increased weight gain.

Cats:

Unlike dogs, cats don’t usually chew on objects for fun. Even when eating they tend to swallow their food after chewing as little as possible! To encourage chewing, feed your cat large chunks of raw meat, or raw chicken necks occasionally. If your cat doesn’t eat these immediately, don’t leave them lying in the sun for long or your pet may have an upset stomach. Remember, meat by itself is not a complete and balanced diet. Your cat still needs to have commercial cat food. Feeding cats dry food can sometimes help to scrape plaque and tartar off their teeth as they eat. Some dry diets are specially formulated to help clean teeth – ask one of our staff for details.

How your vet can help your pet…

Sometimes, despite the best dental care at home, an animal will need to have their teeth cleaned with dental equipment, or have teeth removed. In order to do this, your pet will need a general anaesthetic. As for any general anaesthetic, there is a small risk to your pet – pre-anaesthetic blood tests can be a good indicator of your pet’s general health, and can reduce this risk. Unfortunately some animals have a tendency towards tooth and gum disease, and may need dental procedures each year to help prevent tooth loss.