I talked to you last time about how to detect dental disease in your dogs and cats. As promised, I now want to tell you how to avoid them getting to that point in the first place. We see so much dental disease in pets and dental care makes up a large proportion of our day-to-day practice activity. Whilst we love doing that, we’d much rather see your pets maintaining dental health without our help. For this to happen, though, we need some help – from YOU!! Between us, we can keep your cat or dog’s mouth in a really healthy, pain-free condition but, just like with our own dental health, it needs a bit of ongoing commitment and work on your part.
Ok, I hear you ask, what are those things you need to do to prevent dental disease and avoid those dental cleanup visits to our hospital? Well, here’s a list of the 5 key points (in no particular order):
1) You Need to Brush Daily
- Just like for us, thorough daily brushing is the most important part of dental hygiene. Use a finger brush, a baby brush or, even better, an electric tooth-brush and a little paste (needs to be pet toothpaste though)
- Inside and out, all teeth
- Cats as well as dogs
- If they learn as pups/kittens, they’ll usually accept brushing well
2) Use a High-quality Dental Diet
- Dry food is generally better than canned/moist food
- An ideal pet-food is Hills T/D which cleans as they chew
- Available for both dogs and cats and they love it (my dogs and cats are all on this)
3) Bones – Avoid them!!!
- Even raw bones often lead to enamel fractures
- If your pet is used to smaller bones such as chicken necks/wings, that’s usually ok, although be aware this is not an appropriate diet on it’s own!
4) Consider Dental additives/chews
- We use a number of products to assist in preventing plaque buildup – ‘Healthy Mouth’ is a new product we add to drinking water and this works very well.
- OraVet makes a fantastic dog chew which actually treats the teeth as your dog chews on it (cats not so compliant with this unfortunately)
5) Rope Toys or Kongs are a Great Help
- Chewing actually stimulates the gums and so has a cleaning action. As such, anything that involves chewing (other than bones, as mentioned above) can help maintain oral hygiene
- ‘Kong’ chews are very solid rubber toys designed for just this purpose (good fun, too, for an energetic dog). You can add a bit of soft food into the Kong to encourage chewing.
- Similarly, heavy rope toys are pretty good for this purpose and have the added bonus of entertaining your dog.
In an upcoming article, I’ll tell you how we go about treating dental disease and what that involves. If you need any more specific advice about any of this, please feel free to give our lovely reception staff a call. If you think your pet may already be suffering from a degree of dental disease, let’s arrange an appointment and we’ll let you know what needs to be done. Call us on 8522 3500 or book an appointment directly online.