The first time that many pet owners know there is a problem with their pet’s teeth is when they catch a whiff of very smelly breath or, more worryingly, when their pet stops eating. Our veterinary nurses can check with your pets teeth and advise you what to do next.
With their nursing skills, they can advise and demonstrate the best way to keep your pet’s teeth pearly white. Still not convinced? Here are five reasons to help change your mind.
Reason 1: Your pets teeth are under constant threat
Just like humans, your pet’s teeth are always being bombarded by bacteria, leading to the buildup of plaque and tartar. Even dogs from three years old can have periodontal disease which if left unchecked can cause pain and other serious health issues. Goddard veterinary nurses can give you excellent advice on cleaning your dog’s and cat’s teeth. It isn’t as difficult as you may think and the nurses will give you the best techniques to use. After all we clean our teeth every day, why shouldn’t our pets have clean teeth as well?
Reason 2: Extra teeth are not good
A full-grown dog should have 42 teeth, whereas a fully grown cat has 30 teeth. Of course, before these teeth can grow, the deciduous (baby) teeth need to fall out. Sometimes you will see these teeth scattered around the floor, however there are times when they don’t fall out and this can cause problems. Retained teeth, commonly the canine teeth, can cause gum irritation and an extra build-up of tartar.
Regular checks with our veterinary nurses can make sure these teeth are doing what they are supposed to, especially as your puppy or kitten becomes an adult. Some breeds are also more prone to retaining teeth such as Chihuahuas.
Reason 3: It’s not just dental health
You may think that a bit of smelly breath (halitosis) is okay to put up with, however poor teeth and dental hygiene can result in other much more serious health problems. An infection in the mouth can cause bacteria to enter the body via the bloodstream, causing infections elsewhere in your pet’s body.
Major organs can be infected by poor dental health, including the kidneys, heart, lungs and liver.
This means a simple check can help stop the infection before it starts. If there are signs of infection already around the gums, our nurses can flag this to the vets, who can begin appropriate treatment.
Reason 4: Pets can be secretive
You might not realise that your pet has dental problems, especially if you don’t get very close to their mouths. Most animals can be very secretive, even if their mouths are causing them pain. Many pets will not cry out, but simply tolerate it. As humans, we know how bad toothache can get, but at least we can do something about it! Another reason regular dental checks are so important!
If you do see any of the following signs, it may indicate dental discomfort:
- Reluctance to eat – especially hard food such as biscuits
- Their coats becoming unkempt or matted – where they feel reluctant to groom
- Wetness around their face, chin and mouth – or even drooling
- Some animals even ‘paw’ at their faces/mouth areas
If you witness any of these signs please bring your pets to see us as soon as possible, so we can start to treat them.
Reason 5: Early intervention can save you money!
Like any disease, the earlier it is discovered the easier it is to treat. Dental disease is no different. Would you much rather our vet nurses check your pet’s teeth regularly and advise when they need treatment – such as a scale and polish, or ignore any issues and eventually leave no alternative for your pet but lots of extractions, potentially being expensive?
By checking your pet’s teeth regularly throughout their lives from very young to their senior years you can save both money and discomfort. Our nurses can advise on the types of brushes available, toothpastes (never use human toothpaste in pets), brushing techniques, dental biscuits and chews. The initial outlay and time can save a lot of heartache further down the line.
So what next?
If your pet hasn’t had a dental check in the last six months, take advantage of the skills of our veterinary nurses and let them offer a check and advice for your pet’s dental health. It may be your pet’s fangs are fine, they may need a clean, but even if they need more invasive treatment, you now know that you are doing your best by them when it comes to their pearly whites!
Call your nearest Goddard surgery for more information, or to speak to one of our veterinary nurses about any pet dental concerns.