It’s important to begin dental care with your pet from a young age in order to prevent complications later in life.
Adult dogs have 42 permanent teeth and puppies have 28 deciduous teeth. Puppies tend to lose their deciduous teeth between 3-6 months.
Common Dental Problems
- Plaque – like humans, pets can suffer from a build-up of plaque on their teeth. This is a soft stick deposit that contains millions of bacteria and accumulates on teeth. If plaque is left to build up, it can form into a hard brownish rock-type material, commonly known as tartar.
- Tartar – is very common and can only be removed through scaling and polishing the teeth. In pets, this procedure requires a full general anaesthetic, so we strongly encourage owners to develop a good dental health regime from a young age to avoid dental surgery later on in life.
- Gingivitis and other forms of Gum Disease – This is a bacterial infection caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar. The gums become inflamed and sore, leading to the destruction of tissue and pus in the cavities between the gums and teeth. The infection usually starts with one tooth and, if left untreated, quickly spreads around the mouth causing further pain and tooth loss.
- Receding gums – If inflamed gums go unnoticed and are not treated, this can quickly snowball to bleeding, sore gums which recede away from the roots of the teeth. Should this occur, the teeth themselves become exposed to infection, potential loss and abscesses.
Recognising Dental Health Problems
Dogs can sometimes be reluctant to let us know when there is something wrong with them, and dental issues are no exception. However, there are symptoms that are common to both cats and dogs that owners should be aware of. These include:
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Pawing the mouth
- Red, bleeding gums
- Discomfort when eating
- Reduced food intake
- Weight loss
If your dog is showing any of these symptoms and you are worried about their dental health then please contact us straight away. Remember, we offer free nurse dental checks at the practice so it will cost you nothing to put your mind at ease.
Preventing Dental Health Problems
The following measures are effective, relatively inexpensive and will be beneficial to both you and your pet. These include:
- Try to develop a daily brushing habit. Some animals are initially adverse to this, so it’s best to begin as soon as possible when your pets are young enough to grow used to the brushing. We recommend that you introduce brushing gradually to your pet’s routine to increase the chance of success.
- If they will let you, try checking the inside of your dog’s mouth on a regular basis to look for sores or inflammation.
- Utilise some of the many pet dental products on the market such as flavoured toothpaste and special finger brushes. Our Veterinary Nurses will be happy to advise on which dental health products would be most suitable for your pet and their needs.
- Choose a high-quality dry food diet for your pet.
- Avoid giving your pets sugary treats and human foods, especially the ones that are bad for human teeth too!
If you are concerned about your pet’s dental health, please contact the surgery and book them in for a free dental health check. For any other dental queries, please contact a member of our vet nursing team.