80 per cent of dogs and cats over the age of three have some form of dental disease, which worsens with age. As well as having to have teeth extracted, dental disease can lead to much more serious issues, such as illnesses relating to some of the vital organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys from dental infections spreading through the bloodstream.
Owners can do a few things to help prevent dental disease in their furry friends. It is important to check your pet’s teeth regularly, as animals often won’t show pain and will continue to eat until they are very unwell. Feeding them large, crunchy kibble is a good way to keep teeth clean, as the mechanical action of chewing removes any buildup of plaque on the teeth. Brushing your pet’s teeth is the number one recommendation from the AVA (Australian Veterinary Association). Many pets learn to enjoy having their teeth brushed, especially if started when young. Bones are also a popular treat used for dental care, but they can lead to other problems such as broken teeth, intestinal obstructions, or even pancreatitis, therefore we do not recommend feeding your pets bones regularly.
If your pet already has existing dental disease they may need to have a general anaesthetic and dental procedure at the vets. This is generally a day procedure where the Vet and Nurse will be able to remove any severely affected teeth, and thoroughly clean and polish all the others. This stops the progression of infection and ongoing pain!
It is also important for your pet to have regular health checks at your Vet. Dogs and cats age much quicker than humans, and having regular checkups ensures that we pick up on any issues early on for the best outcome.
We recommend a once yearly checkup even if you think your pet is well. Your pet will generally need to come in once a year for vaccinations, so this is a great time for the vet to do an overall health check including looking in your pet’s mouth and at their teeth.
As veterinary professionals our goal is to maintain the overall health and happiness of your pet, and to keep your loved ones around for as long as possible!