Taking care of your dog’s teeth is as important as looking after your own. Proper dental care is essential to keep your dog healthy.
How do dogs develop dental disease?
Saliva, bacteria and food particles combine to form plaque every day. Within 24 hours the plaque may begin to turn into tartar, a hard yellowish deposit on the teeth. Plaque also causes gingivitis – an infection of the gum - that is the first stage of periodontal disease.
Gum disease is the most common condition in adult dogs and affects four out of five dogs over the age of three years of age. It is very painful, even if your dog may not show it. The major cause of gum disease is accumulation of plaque, which harbours a large amount of bacteria. This bacteria can spread to the lungs, liver, kidney and heart, causing infection.
Signs of dental disease:
Yellow and brown tartar deposits on the teeth – normal teeth should always be white
A red line along the gum line (gingivitis)
How to look after your pet's teeth:
To help keep your dog's teeth healthy we recommend the following:
1) Regular tooth brushing - brushing will be easier if you begin while your dog is still young, although you may have success even if you start with an older dog, provided he doesn’t already have painful gum disease. You should use only use toothpaste specially designed for pets to clean your dog's teeth. We sell a range of dental products at each of our surgeries. If you have difficulty brushing your dog's teeth we also sell a range of dental products such as dental mouth washes, oral gels and granules to add to your dog's feed which have the same effect as brushing your dog's teeth.
2) Feed a special food that works like a toothbrush - in addition to brushing or instead of, you can use a special food. We stock a range of specially formulated diets that help to clean your dog's teeth. The biscuit works like a toothbrush by removing plaque as your dog bites into the kibble. It also has properties that prevent the build up of bacteria in the mouth.
3) Regular check-ups - every 6 months or AT LEAST once a year. Our vets will routinely check your dog's teeth at his yearly vaccination, in addition our nurses hold complimentary clinics to give advice on how to look after his teeth.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE - If your dog is already showing signs of dental disease it may be necessary for his teeth to be cleaned by one of our vets under general anaesthetic. In the more advanced stages of dental disease your dog may also require surgical extraction of his teeth. Please ring to book a complimentary appointment with one of our veterinary nurses to have your dog's teeth checked.