Your pet’s dental health
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.