How to keep your pet’s teeth healthy

For humans, good dental health plays an important role in your overall wellbeing. The same principle holds true for your pets.

Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) is one of the biggest threats to your pet’s health, with 80% of pets aged over 2 years suffering from poor oral hygiene.

If left unchecked, gum disease can lead to your pet requiring intense teeth cleaning under anaesthetic and possibly even teeth extraction. Worst-case scenario, if left untreated, the infection can spread to their vital organs and they can suffer blood poisoning.

Responsible pet owners help their pets avoid gum disease and keep their best-mate’s choppers sparkling.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease starts with a build-up of food and saliva on the teeth that turns into plaque. Plaque settles on your pet’s teeth and within 12-24 hours, it hardens to becomes tartar, which is bad news for their teeth and gum health.

 

There are four stages of gum disease in pets:
Stage 1: Gingivitis
  • Gums are slightly inflamed and swollen
  • Beginnings of plaque build-up
  • Can be treated with care at home
Stage 2: Early Periodontist
  • Entire gum is inflamed and swollen
  • Smelly breath
  • Sore teeth and mouth
  • Teeth change colour to a noticeable yellow/brown
  • Needs dental treatment from a vet to remove tartar in conjunction with home care plan
Stage 3: Moderate Periodontist
  • Bleeding gums from infection and tartar build-up
  • Sore teeth & mouth affecting eating and behaviour
  • Gum recession
  • Bad breath
  • Immediate dental treatment is needed
Stage 4: Advanced Periodontist
  • Chronic bacterial infection is destroying the gums, tooth and bone
  • Tooth rot spreading bacteria through the entire body causing damage to kidneys, liver and heart
  • The damage is irreversible and teeth need to be extracted and antibiotics prescribed

At home dental care for your pet

Prevention is better than cure! As fellow pet-lovers, we want to make sure your pets avoid the symptoms and potential health impact. There are a lot of options of at-home dental care you can choose depending on your pet’s breed, lifestyle and preference.

TOOTH BRUSHING

This is the most effective way to prevent gum disease and keep your pet’s teeth and mouth healthy.

Tooth brushing is not a natural thing for pets to experience, so it will take patience and consistency to get your pet comfortable enough to build it into your daily pet care routine.

Step 1: Introduce the toothpaste

Smear a small amount of toothpaste on your finger and allow the dog to lick it from your finger. Repeat a few times.

Step 2: Get used to contact with mouth

With toothpaste on your finger, gently slide it into your pet’s mouth and glide over the teeth and gums. Only go as far into the mouth as your pets comfortable.

Step 3: Introduce the toothbrush

Prepare the special pet toothbrush with water and toothpaste

Gently hold the mouth around the muzzle to stop them from chewing (like the picture below)

Start to gently brush canines only and try to avoid the front teeth (incisors) at this point as they’re the most sensitive.

Step 4: Brushing all teeth

Slowly move around the rest of their teeth, moving in a circular motion and focusing on areas with plaque

For the best and most consistent results, bush their teeth daily and after meals.

DENTAL CHEWS

Dental chews help control tartar build-up by mechanical  abrasion. The chewy texture of the food and treats allows the teeth to sink in causing a mechanical scraping and scrubbing of the tooth’s surface.

The movement of the teeth when chewing against the textures of the treat creates a brushing action, like a toothbrush. These dental chews can also be called ‘dental diets.’

There are also dental chew toys that encourage chewing of a flexible rubber toy, that can sometimes be covered in food or canine toothpaste to make it more fun and rewarding for them. The ridges on the toys help massage the gums and clean teeth by removing food debris and plaque.

Dental chew toys can also include dental ropes, pig ears and rawhides.

DENTAL FOOD ADDITIVES & MOUTHWASHES

Dental food additives and mouthwashes can be used in conjunction with other dental health methods. It’s also a great option for pets who aren’t keen on teeth brushing or dental chews. Here are a few options that we recommend and stock in the clinic.

Plaque Off is a powder that can be added to your pet’s food to reduce the ability of plaque sticking to their teeth.

Hexarinse is a mouthwash that can be squirted into your pets’ mouth after mealtime. The antimicrobial ingredients prevent dental disease.

Aquadent can be squirted into your pets’ water and helps control bad breath and keep their gums healthy.

Check with your vet

We’re united with you as a team of pet-lovers who all have the same goal: to give your pet a happy and healthy life.

Although we love seeing your pet at the clinic, we prefer to see them for friendly check-ups and their annual vaccines, not for avoidable conditions like gum disease.

If you have any concerns about your pet’s dental health, call us on 4955 6670 or book an appointment online to chat to one of our experienced vets.

Pet Dental Health Month Special Offer

Let’s keep your pet’s choppers in sparkling condition with our August Dental Special .

Here’s what you get:

  • Free Consultation with Dr Gin to assess your pet’s teeth
  • $50 off dental treatment if booked after consult
  • 20% off our range of dental products 

*Note: You must secure your booking during the month of August.

Meet the Fletcher Vet team

We enjoy a reputation as one of Newcastle’s best vet practices. Dr Paul Robin and his team have been caring for local pets (and their families) since 1998.

Find out why  →