Pet Dental Health Month: The importance of oral disease prevention
August is Pet Dental Health Month in Australia, but the maintenance of pet dental health is important all year round!
Dental health in our pets is easy to overlook. This is largely because dental health problems may not be obvious until they are severe, for example when your pet starts to chew on only one side, drops food, paws at their face and/or the owner smells a bad odour from the mouth. Animals are ‘programmed’ to not show pain and can be adept at hiding their dental discomfort.
Comprehensive wellness checks performed by your veterinarian should always encompass a dental examination. Veterinarians are trained to recognise the early signs of dental disease and will be able to treat it based on the best option for you and your pet.
Just like humans, dogs and cats benefit greatly from preventative home dental care. The goal with home care is to decrease the build-up of plaque and calculus in the mouth, as excessive amounts of these substances leads to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can be painful for your pet and advanced stages may also have negative effects on their organs such as the heart and kidneys.
The types of home care we most commonly recommend include; daily brushing (ensure to use special dog or cat toothpaste as the human formulations may make your pet sick), dental diets and certain dental chews. Please check with your veterinarian before attempting to introduce any of these products. It is also important to note that these products are useful preventative measures, but they will not treat periodontal disease if already present.
Like humans, animals benefit from professional dental cleaning and treatment to maintain a healthy mouth. This applies to not only cats and dogs, but also rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets, just to name a few! Some pets do require regular professional dental care and visits to hospital every 6-12 months for this service, which is performed under general anaesthetic for their comfort and safety. U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital has a dedicated suite which is fully equipped with dental equipment such as ultrasonic scalers, drills and dental X-rays, similar to what you might see at your own dentist.