Your pet’s den­tal health

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - NEWS - with Ju­lia Smith BVSc VE­TERI­NAR­IAN

HOW of­ten do you brush your teeth? Twice a day? What about your dog, how of­ten do they brush their teeth? Or your cat? Un­less you have some very im­pres­sive an­i­mals, (who should def­i­nitely be so­cial me­dia stars) it’s un­likely you’ll catch your dog or cat main­tain­ing their own pearly whites with a tooth­brush. First, the baby teeth! Pup­pies and kit­tens have baby or de­cid­u­ous teeth that come through in the first few weeks of life. These will fall out from 3 months old, and by 6 months most dogs will have all of their per­ma­nent, or adult teeth. Im­por­tant things that your vet will check for is the place­ment (oc­clu­sion) of the teeth. Some dogs and cats with un­der­bites or over­bites will have teeth sit­ting out­side of their nor­mal po­si­tion. If these teeth (baby or adult) are dig­ging into the roof of the mouth, or oth­er­wise im­pact­ing other teeth or gums, then they will be painful for you pet and re­quire re­moval. This is most of­ten seen with ca­nine teeth (the fang like ones). Clip­ping or cut­ting these baby teeth is un­ac­cept­able, it causes pain and should not be con­sid­ered. A check up with your vet is re­quired, and a treat­ment plan in­volv­ing a tooth ex­trac­tion un­der a gen­eral anaes­thetic may be re­quired. Keep­ing the adult teeth clean is the next job. Den­tal dry food, chews, brush­ing and rinses can all help with your pets oral health, please feel free to check with your vets and vet nurses to find what rou­tine and prod­ucts work best for you and your pet. Brush­ing your pet’s teeth is the ‘gold stan­dard’ of care. Daily brush­ing is most ben­e­fi­cial, three times a week is the sug­gested min­i­mum fre­quency for pets with good oral health (more fre­quently for pets with den­tal dis­ease). Get­ting your pet used to brush­ing early will def­i­nitely help, but if you’ve got an older pet, just start slowly and use lots of treats and re­wards.

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