Does your pet have bad breath? This is one of the early signs of dental disease, which affects 70% of cats and dogs over the age of three! Other signs of dental disease include brown tartar on the teeth, red and/or bleeding gums and once advanced, dribbling and difficulty eating due to pain. However, pets are surprisingly stoic and often owners are unaware that their dog or cat is suffering from toothache! For this reason, regular veterinary check-ups are important – we can see what they can’t tell you!

So why is Dental Disease such a common problem?

They just don’t clean their teeth! So plaque and tartar build up, and so do the associated problems. On top of this, certain dog & cat breeds (eg Siamese, Poodles) are predisposed to poor oral health, as are small dog breeds. This is due to overcrowding or mal-aligned teeth, which cause food to get caught and therefore rapid build-up of plaque and tartar. If not removed, this tartar causes gingivitis (painful gum inflammation). This gradually worsens, destroying the structures holding the teeth in place.  If left untreated, bacterial infection can spread into the bloodstream, causing heart, kidney and liver problems.

The great news is that dental disease is entirely preventable and treatable! Usually a dental scale and polish is needed initially (under anaesthetic), to get the teeth and gums back to pristine health. Then it’s a matter of keeping them clean, with innovative products such as OraVET® chews, veterinary prescription diets (that help remove plaque as they eat) and of course physically cleaning the teeth with a toothbrush and pet toothpaste.

Get your pet’s teeth checked today and set your buddy on the road to great dental health and wellness. A healthy mouth is vital for a long and healthy life!

Nina Smith BVSc