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A Dentist for my Pet?!

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Honestly, they're just animals at the end of the day, aren't they? Why all the fuss about clean teeth? Does it really matter whether Fluffy has bad breath or not? Well YES it does! Pet dental care has grown dramatically in popularity and importance over the past few years, and there are good reasons for this.

Plaque, an accumulation of bacteria, builds up at the gum-line of all teeth - human, canine and feline - unless they're brushed daily. Eventually, hard, discoloured calculus forms that further irritates the gums, causing infection to progress and the attachments of the tooth to the jaw bone to loosen and become destroyed. Blech!

And this infection is also at risk of spreading to the liver, kidneys and the heart - this means that your beloved pet, who may be sitting on your lap with dirty teeth and smelly breath (you STILL want to kiss that face, don't you!), is at risk of losing teeth AND becoming ill from the infection surrounding them. What's more, he may be in considerable discomfort and you don't know it! After all, can he say, "Oiy! My tooth is killing me! Help!" (Don't ya just love guilt-trips? )

Full-blown dental cleaning which removes plaque and calculus from above AND below the gum-line requires your vet, general anesthesia and special equipment. Your job is to brush Fluffy's teeth twice daily (in an ideal world!), or as often as you can, with special pet toothpaste - this will thankfully decrease the need for and frequency of veterinary dental cleaning procedures. Yeeehaa!

Remember this about teeth:

  • Bad breath is a cardinal sign of periodontal disease... so if Rover's breath is smelling, get his teeth checked.
  • Periodontitis is what develops if gingivitis isn't treated with dental cleaning, and it's NOT curable. Extracting the affected teeth is the only treatment, so don't leave it too late!
  • Chewing on objects harder than teeth can cause fractures, so be especially careful with cow and horse hoof chew toys.
  • Don't play tug of war games, especially with young dogs, as this may result in moving growing teeth to abnormal locations. Eeeewww!
  • If you're unable to brush your pet's teeth in between cleaning procedures (which is a big ask, we know!), be prepared for these procedures to happen up to twice a year. Eek!
  • Small dog breeds such as Terriers, Malteses and Chihuahuas often require regular cleaning because their teeth are actually closer together than other breeds. (Didn't know THAT!)
  • People tend to avoid dental cleaning because of anaesthetic risk. Speak to your veterinarian - this risk can be eliminated with careful examination, testing and planning.

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