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“Phewee!” If your pet could be renamed Pongo because of bad breath, you may want to schedule a dental hygiene appointment for them right away. A stinky smelly breath and excessive drooling are key indicators that your pet may be suffering from tooth or gum disease. The last thing you want to do is just ignore the problem – the cost of the bill is almost always related to extent of time the problem has been festering! Not to mention poor Pongo feeling blue as the household pariah!
The key reason pet owners delay or forego necessary dental care is convenience.
Trying to get your furry baby to a veterinary surgery is a major undertaking – many pets need a second person to supervise them for the drive in. Pets become stressed and their behaviour can become erratic.
Time poor pet parents often have to take time off work to ensure they can make opening hours – Vetaround will come to you at a time that suits you and your pet will feel at home because they are at home. This positively impacts the outcome of the visit.
Dentistry for pets is best if set up when you first bring your precious bundle home. The sooner they become used to regular weekly teeth checks by you, the easier it will become to do. The more often you check for problems, the sooner you will detect any issues and the sooner treatment can begin.
Scheduling a targeted dental check with your vet every 6 -12 months is an essential part of a healthy maintenance program. This way there won’t be ny surprises. Vetaround are proactive in setting up an individualised program and will send reminders and schedule visits in advance.
How well the pet behaves under examination is a key factor in the type of care that can be administered. Anaesthetic can be avoided by making sure any issues remain minor and your pet is easy to examine. Having a home visit is definitely preferable – Vetaround’s Ari has infinite energy and knows his patients prefer their home territory.
Puppies of about 8 weeks should have a full set of baby teeth and by 7 months all permanent teeth will be in place. Making sure your pet’s teeth are healthy may involve weekly or bi-weekly toothbrushing sessions. Get Bella or Bingo used to this and the vet examination will be a breeze!
Fun fact: Puppies have 28 teeth adult dogs have 42.
The main diseases that present themselves are tartar build-up on the teeth and gingivitis, a gum condition. These two are gateway problems that lead to bacteria entering the bloodstream and causing complications of the liver, heart and kidney. By making sure both of these are treated properly the moment they are detected will avoid painful, debilitating and possibly fatal diseases later on.
There are many things you can do to help keep your pet healthy – Dry food over wet, the right chew toys, manual tooth brushing with the right products – be sure to get advice from your Vet, not over the internet. The right knowledge is hard to come by and diagnoses for pets is definitely not a matter of one size fits all.
Natural choices include rawhide or a knucklebone. Knucklebones are a softer bone that’s gentler on the teeth. Never give harder items, such as hooves or bones from steak, rib or ham shank as these can fracture teeth.
Chew toys should also adhere to safe guidelines – make sure the toy is large enough not to pose choking hazard, and chewable enough for the teeth to sink to gum level, thus providing the cleaning benefit.
While most dental health focuses on dogs, cats and rabbits and other pets have their fair share of problem. Rabbits who are housed indoors can suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency which results in tooth decay – poor teeth will impact the eating habits quickly and cause a lethargic unhappy bunny. Regular checkups are recommended – as well as ensuring a balanced diet and environment are in place.
Fun fact: Rabbits have 28 teeth.
Cats need the same regular checks as dogs do for evidence of swelling, tartar build-up or broken teeth. It is harder to do – cats are not as complacent and will resist. It is important to start as young as possible and to persist. Picky eaters that they are, it may not be possible to tell if they are off their food or not. It is important not to let your cat take the lead on this one. Ensure a dental search is part of any checkup or vaccination.
Fun fact: Kittens have 26 teeth, adult cats have 30.
It is imperative that no human toothpaste should be used – the fluoride is toxic to animals. There are custom pet products available, but if you are without these you can use a bit of gauze wrapped around a finger – rub gently along the teeth line. While this will not address severe tartar buildup, it will get your pet used to the process of having their mouth and teeth examined.
If you are in any doubt about the dental health of your favourite non-person, Call Ari at Vetaround and make a time for him to come round to yours and take matters in hand.
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