Tip-top teeth

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Louise Vosloo of Pre­to­ria writes I’ve no­ticed that my Corgi has bad breath now that she’s get­ting older; do I have to start brush­ing her teeth?

Ash­leigh San­der­son, brand man­ager for

Pedi­gree, replies While your pooch’s breath may never smell like a bunch of roses, if it car­ries a pong that makes you want to pass out, some­thing is amiss and your dog could ac­tu­ally have gum dis­ease. Your ca­nine can’t tell you if some­thing is wrong, so it’s up to you as a pet owner to get to the bot­tom of what’s caus­ing the odour.

Re­search shows that four out of five dogs over the age of three have gum dis­ease, caused by plaque and tar­tar build-up around the gum­line. The good news is that this statis­tic can be re­duced with an ef­fec­tive den­tal care rou­tine. When left un­treated, it can lead to the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of your dog’s health and qual­ity of life.

Symp­toms in­clude red, in­flamed or bleed­ing gums; a re­ced­ing gum­line and tooth root ex­po­sure; loose teeth; cal­cu­lus (tar­tar) build-up; and, in se­vere cases, a change in feed­ing be­hav­iour such as pre­fer­ring softer foods or chew­ing more on one side of the mouth.

Tips for healthy teeth in­clude: • Make sure your dog has an oral health ex­am­i­na­tion at your vet at least once a year. • Train your dog, ideally as a puppy, to get him used to hav­ing his teeth brushed; use ca­nine-spe­cific tooth­paste and a tooth­brush. • Pro­vide safe chews, toys and treats – many peo­ple don’t re­alise that bones, stones, sticks and ten­nis balls can dam­age a dog’s teeth and gums. • A chew such as Pedi­gree Den­taStix has a unique X-shape and a mildly abra­sive tex­ture that helps to re­duce the build-up of plaque at the gum­line. It’s low in fat, free of ar­ti­fi­cial colours and sugar, and con­tains real meat flavour for added de­li­cious­ness.

Re­mem­ber Your dog uses his teeth for much more than just eat­ing; he uses them where we would use our hands to hold, carry and play. From lick­ing to lean­ing in, dogs have a spe­cial way of show­ing af­fec­tion and it’s im­por­tant to mon­i­tor smelly breath and un­healthy teeth and gums so that you can en­joy your pet.

CON­TACT pedi­gree.co.za

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