Keeping your pets teeth clean is one of the essential parts of providing them with a healthy life. Dental problems cause pain and bad breath in the mouth, while also seeding bacteria into the rest of their body and causing issues elsewhere.
As pets do not brush their teeth, we need to take steps to help keep their teeth clean. This involves the food they eat, toys they play with, visits to the vet, bones and other measures.
Food: The food pets eat can play a big part in the day to day maintenance of teeth. Dry food pellets provide an abrasive brushing action simply due to their consistency. This helps keep plaque (a soft layer of bacteria) at bay and so prevents the development of tartar (plaque that becomes hard and very well attached to teeth). However, tartar is too hard for simple food to remove. Soft food doesn't provide this advantage and leads to a sticky layer being left on teeth that is perfect for plaque to develop.
Bones: Bones are another routine measure that can play a big part in looking after teeth. While bones have been a source of debate, our current recommendation is to feed appropriate bones on a regular basis, as the crunching of bones can dramatically improve teeth and remove tartar. All bones should be fed raw, as once cooked, bones become brittle and can break teeth or splinter and cause damage to the mouth, throat and gut. We recommend feeding brisket bones, lamb flaps, chicken necks and chicken wings, depending on the size of your pet. These are all softer bones that are perfect for your pet to sink their teeth into for tooth-brushing effects. We strongly recommend that you do not feed marrow bones, as their hard outer layer can break teeth, leading to surgery to remove the broken tooth.
Visits to the vet: Trips to the vet initially allows us to keep track of your pets teeth, giving you confidence that your current steps are maintaining your pets oral health. If we pick up on a problem, we can then discuss steps to improve the situation, such as increasing bones, scale and polish procedures right through to removal of problem teeth. We routinely give pets anaesthetics to clean their teeth back to being white and shiny, giving them the best chance at keeping their teeth clean and preventing problems down the track.
Other steps: Brushing your pets teeth is the best way to prevent dental disease. Tooth-brushing is the gold standard for people and allows us to keep healthy teeth for a lifetime, and the same applies to pets. It is easiest to start at a young age when your pet is most open to new experiences, or after a dental procedure when there is no tartar present. Come in and talk to us to learn more about how to approach this.