Dental disease in pets

Dental disease W

It is a good idea for your pet to have a yearly dental check - you will find most veterinary practices will have free nurse clinics. Dental disease is one of the most common problems to affect our pets and can lead to other health problems. Infection and toxaemia from the teeth can affect and damage the digestive tract, heart and kidneys, for example endocarditis (bacteria affecting the heart muscle).

First signs

The first signs that your pet requires a dental would be bad breath and a sensitive mouth. More progressive signs could be loss of appetite, bleeding and receding gums, pawing at mouth, missing teeth, tartar on the teeth, drooling and stomach upsets. At this stage your pet will need dental treatment from your veterinary practice.

Prevention is better than cure

As always prevention is better than cure. There are dental chews and food that can help to prevent the build-up of tartar on the teeth. But the best way is to start brushing your pet’s teeth. You will need special toothpaste designed for animals, as human toothpaste is toxic and a finger brush or toothbrush, which you can obtain from pet shops, or veterinary practices.

Brushing tips

Start slowly and gently and stroke your pet’s cheek with your finger and lift the lip for 20 seconds. Then let your pet sample a small amount of toothpaste from your finger. The next day repeat as above and once your pet is happy with this start by introducing the toothbrush/finger brush over your pet’s teeth gently for about 30 seconds. The next stage is to gradually build up to brushing a minute on each side of the mouth this will probably take a week but can take longer. If at any stage your pet is not happy please stop and seek veterinary advice.

Love and reward

You will need to praise and reward your pet so it becomes a happy experience for them and hopefully you can regularly brush their teeth.

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