A trip to the dentist is one of those unfortunate items on my “to do” list. I loathe having to spend the rare child-free work-free minutes I have sitting in the dental chair getting asked to “open wide!” My husband avoids it like the plague. But despite all this the whole family visits every 6 months. So why shouldn’t your pet?
Doggy breath should be not be terrible. You should not heave in disgust if your dog pants within a two metre radius of you. Your cat should not drool excessively or dislike dry biscuits because its teeth are too sore to crunch them. Just like humans our pet’s mouths require regular care including a good diet, trips to the dentist and teeth brushing.
Here are our top tips for ensuring your pet maintains their pearly whites:
Dry dog food (aka “kibble”) helps by creating a mechanical cleaning action to remove plaque every time a pet eats. Some prescription dental foods such as Hills t/d are specifically designed for this and also prevent tartar build-up.
We love giving our pets treats so why not make them useful! Greenies Dental treats are clinically proven to reduce tartar and bad breath and are nice and chewie to get your pet literally sinking their teeth in.
Regular brushing helps prevent plaque and tartar accumulation. And it’s actually not as hard as you think! Most pets can be trained to tolerate it quite well. My own dog took some coaxing and I end up quite covered in slobber (she’s a Great Dane) but now every day she sits patiently waiting for her “beef” flavoured toothpaste routine.
REGULAR DENTAL CHECKUPS
Ideally your vet should examine your pet’s mouth every 6 months. This will ensure any problems that arise are identified early and can be easily fixed. You can also use these opportunities to discuss your pet’s dental plan with the vet and get them to demonstrate teeth brushing. Combine their annual vaccination with one of these visits.
DON’T BE SCARED OF THE SCALE & POLISH
Just like humans pets can benefit from regular scale and polishes. Unfortunately for pet’s this involves a general anaesthetic to ensure they stay still but if they are otherwise healthy this is a very low risk procedure. Doing a thorough clean under anaesthetic can ensure your pet’s teeth remain healthy and reduces the risk of teeth removal down the track. It’s also a lot cheaper than dental work that involves lengthy extractions.
AVOID ANAESTHETIC-FREE DENTALS
There is an increasing trend of completing anaesthetic-free dental work on pets. Unfortunately this is not only incredibly stressful for the pet but not at all beneficial to their dental health. For more information on why this procedure should not be performed please check out the Australian Veterinary Association’s website https://www.ava.com.au/node/85991
So your pet should smile! And so should you! Because with these few simple steps you can ensure
your pet’s teeth are ready for that next close up pet selfie!