Today (March 20) marks World Oral Health Day, and while our own dental hygiene should be important, what should you be doing to help look after your pets’ teeth?
Last year, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home’s vets performed dental extractions on over 800 dogs and cats, in addition to thousands of routine scales and polishes, and continue to perform dental procedures on more than 170 animals every month.
Eleven Yorkshire Terrier Angel came into Battersea in January as a stray. Angel had horrendous teeth and was in terrible pain, with a sore and infected mouth. Battersea’s Veterinary team had to remove three of her teeth to make her comfortable. Luckily, Angel recovered from her ordeal – and she’s since gone on to find a happy home in Oxford.
Many of the dental issues faced by the animals treated at their veterinary hospital could have been prevented with basic hygiene, The charity and Mars Petcare have teamed up to offer owners their top tips on keeping your animal’s teeth and gums healthy.
Tops tips for your pet’s oral hygiene
- Ensure your pet’s teeth are checked regularly by your vet. See your vet immediately if your pet is bleeding from the teeth or gums or seems to be experiencing pain in their mouth.
- Brush your pet’s teeth if you can – introduce them slowly to the toothbrush and make sure you never use human toothpaste as fluoride is poisonous to dogs.
- If you have an older dog, ask your vet to clean his teeth properly and then you can start brushing them yourself every day – it’s never too late.
- Only give toys designed for dogs. Bones, stones, sticks, tennis balls and hard nylon chews all commonly damage teeth and gums. Chews and rubber dog toys create less wear on your dog’s teeth, so try and encourage them to chew on these rather than on hard objects
- Having a daily oral care routine is important for your dog’s health and wellbeing. Feed a good dental chew every day, proven to reduce tartar.
Shaun Opperman, Veterinary Director at Battersea, advises: “Regular dental check-ups at your own private vet is the best way to help keep your animal’s teeth healthy. If there are any concerns about a pet’s dental health, always consult your own vet. It can be difficult to spot gum disease, so use Mars’ “3 Bs” guide and look out for bad breath, bleeding gums and changes in behaviour.”