It’s Dental Care Month at Kingsway Vet Centre! Dr Innis has recorded dental issues as the number one reason patients come to see him. So he wants to focus on training us, to take care of our pets’ teeth. Just like we have to brush our teeth daily, taking care of our furry friends’ teeth is a regular task so that we can prevent future problems and ongoing issues.
Dental care is simple! Especially if you start at a young age and keep it up a few times a week. The hard part is when you have an 8-year-old doggo who has advanced dental disease, reversing that is difficult and expensive.
If you’ve got a new puppy, great! Starting your dental care routine now is going to make things so easy and you don’t actually have to brush your pets’ teeth (…yet).
Step 1: Desensitise.
As soon as you bring him home, every now and then, put your finger in his mouth. This will desensitise him so that he’s comfortable having his teeth, gums and tongue touched and foreign objects in his mouth.
Step 2: Let them chew.
As they grow, you’ll notice their natural urge to chew will grow too. Obviously we don’t want them leaving teeth marks in the furniture, but let them chew on safe toys. Firm rubber, rope, durable stuffed toys and tennis balls are great.
Step 3: Stick to dry food.
Dry food these days is exceptional quality. If you can (and your vet doesn’t advise otherwise), give them dry food, it helps a lot. When their diet is made up of purely soft food, they lose the opportunity to gnaw on bone and skin and tough textures.
Step 4: Ask your vet to show you how to brush their teeth.
Once your furbaby’s adult teeth have come through (yes they lose their baby teeth!) it’s ideal to brush their teeth a few times a week. Brushing their teeth is different from how you would brush your own. So it’s important to get a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically for animals and that you know what you’re doing. Dr Innis stresses starting this young. Once they age a few years, it’s going to be hard to get them to let you in there. As they get older, the plaque will build up and their gums will be sensitive and sore. At this point, it will be near impossible for you to brush them. This means you’ll probably have to pay the vet to do it and in dire circumstances, they may even need to be put under anaesthetic (which is pricey!!).
Lastly, there are lots of products that you can add to their food and water that will help stay on top of their dental hygiene. Talk to your vet about what they recommend.
Have a listen to Dr Innis’ advice below: