February is Pet Dental Awareness Month. Dental disease in cats and dogs is more common than one might think. Oral problems aren’t just a cosmetic issue, but if left untreated can cause serious health problems. With a little care and regular check-ups you should be able to keep on top of any issues that may arise. Here we look at ways to spot signs of decay and how to prevent any problems occurring:
How to Spot Signs of Tooth Decay in dogs and cats
The main way to tell if your cat or dog have dental issues is their breath. Bad breath is a sign that something isn’t quite right. In this case, book them in for a check-up to be on the safe side. Other signs include bleeding gums, discoloured teeth and pawing at the mouth.
How to Brush your Dog’s Teeth
It’s really important to check and care for your pet’s teeth as best you can. If you have a willing pet, regular brushing is the best way to prevent tooth decay and other oral problems. It’s a good idea to start young as they’re much more likely to be accepting of the routine than an older dog.
1. Make sure your dog is relaxed and calm. Start slow, try touching your dog’s mouth and exposing the teeth first to see how they react. You might need to do just this for a few times before going in with the toothbrush.
2. Let your dog lick some toothpaste from your finger, so they get used to the texture and flavour.
3. Once they seem happy, you can use a soft toothbrush to carefully brush their teeth. Don’t forget to go all the way to the gemlike and to massage gently. Brushing in small circles is ideal moving slowly around the mouth.
4. Focus o the outside of the teeth. You can try to get the inside, but if your dog clenches their teeth, don’t worry too much. Your dog’s bought tongue will help clean this area.
5. Talk to your dog through the process, keeping them as calm and relaxed as possible. Give them a good pat afterwards and maybe their favourite treat!
Other ways to Prevent Tooth Decay
If you have pet who is unwilling to have their teeth brushed, there other ways to help prevent problems. Dental toys, dental chews and dry food. Whilst these aren’t as effective as regular brushing, there are a range of products to help keep teeth and gums healthy. Look for chew toys, treats and foods that are specifically designed for oral care.
Regular Vet Check-Ups
Your vet should check over your pets teeth as part of their regular check-up, but if you have any specific concerns ask if they can do a thorough check-up.