Keeping pet dental health in check

Have a veterinarian check your pet’s teeth every six months.
Have a veterinarian check your pet’s teeth every six months.

PET dental hygiene is just as important to our beloved animals as it is to us.

Pet Insurance Australia spokeswoman Nadia Crighton said keeping your pet’s teeth in good condition could prevent many health issues.

“It’s also important to remember that our pets are masters at masking pain,” Crighton said.

“So it’s up to owners to be vigilant with checking their pet’s teeth.”

Your Vet Online director Dr Leigh Davidson said mouths were naturally full of bacteria that could lead to infection.

“This infection and inflammation that it causes isn’t just contained to the mouth though, it actually has far-reaching effects on all our body systems,” she said.

“Heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease all have links to problems that start in the mouth.”

Dr Davidson said readers should have a veterinarian check their pet’s teeth every six months and perform a scale and polish if required.

Signs of dentals disease include bad breath, staining on teeth, bleeding gums, excessive salivation, soreness around the jaw, difficulty chewing and unusual swelling associated with the jaw.

“Most often we smell a nasty stench of bad breath,” Dr Davidson said.

“We call this halitosis and if your pet has this it is definitely time to get their mouth checked at the vets. Your animal’s breath should not have a smell that is unpleasant.

“The other sign that your pet has a problem, and this is important, is if you see any redness around the gum line. This is a sign of inflammation called gingivitis.

“Gingivitis can be reversed, but if left it results in periodontitis, an irreversible condition that may result in your pet needing teeth to be removed.”

Davidson said other preventable measures included daily toothbrushing, dental chews, prescription dental diets and a large, meaty, raw, non-cut bone if your pet can handle it.

Cats enjoy cooked, long strips of gravy beef.