Dental Health Month for Pets – August
Looking After Your Pet’s Teeth
Looking after your pet’s teeth is part of pet ownership. You need to make sure their teeth, gums and mouth are healthy, so they can chew and digest food properly and get all the nutrition they need. It will also help to avoid other problems with their health. A pet with a healthy mouth and good strong teeth is more likely to be happy and content – and it means fewer visits to the vet for you.
How to Look After Your Pet’s Teeth
- Purchase a veterinarian recommended toothpaste and toothbrush for your pet.
- From an early age, get your pet used to having their teeth brushed. If you’re not sure how to do this, there are lots of YouTube videos and information online.
- Clean their teeth regularly.
- Feed them a balanced diet and don’t succumb to giving them sugary treats.
- Occasionally, you can give your dog or cat raw bones to chew, which helps remove plaque build up from their teeth. Never give your pet cooked bones as they can splinter in the mouth or cause your pet to choke.
- Make sure your pet has enough exercise and stimulation so they don’t get bored and chew the wrong things.
- You can get dental chews, which help to reduce plaque and tartar build-up and chew toys that help clean their teeth and massage their gums.
- Take your pet for an annual health and dental check at the vets
August is dental health month for pets in Australia. Between 1st and 31st August, some vets are offering a free dental check-up for pets.
How to Tell if Your Pet has Dental Health Problems
Your pet can’t tell you they have pain in their mouth or problems with their teeth and typically, it won’t be obvious. Many pets continue to eat, despite dental health problems, especially dogs. This is because dogs are pack animals and it is in their nature to eat for survival; they will eat until the pain is unbearable.
With this in mind, the following signs could indicate that your pet has a toothache or an infection in their mouth:
- Bad breath
- Red and inflamed gums
- Receding gums
- Bleeding gums
- Stained or discoloured teeth
- Loose or missing teeth
- Pawing at their face
Dropping food from their mouth when they eat
The Australian Veterinary Dental Society says that four out of five dogs and cats over three years of age have some sort of dental disease. Sadly, bacteria and poison from dental infections can spread to the heart, liver, and kidneys through the bloodstream and this can lead to more severe health problems.
Do what you can for your pet; contact your vet and get your pet booked in for an annual dental health check-up.