The mouth is an often over looked area for our pets. However, the health of teeth and gums is vital to maintaining an overall healthy pet.
We recommend that all dogs and cats have their teeth brushed once daily for one minute. The action of brushing is the most important part of the process but using toothpaste can be helpful.
Teeth brushing is something that we can include whilst training our pets, to make it an essential part of their wellness maintenance on a daily basis. It is a process to get them to accept it and for caregivers to get good at doing it. We find it is best to start slow, with one finger and one tooth, then, build up to adding pet toothpaste. Finally, once we can cover the whole gum and tooth area with a finger and toothpaste, we can start to use a finger brush. A toothbrush can be useful for longer nosed dogs and cleaning the inner aspects of the dental arcades.
A well-trained pet will allow caregivers and vets to check the oral cavity at any time, so that we can monitor for any issues. Dogs and cats get cavities, gum disease and tartar just as we do. In the event that dentistry is needed, then it is always performed under general anaesthesia, so that is can be done safely, correctly and completely.
Often diagnostics such as blood tests, urine tests and xrays are needed to assess patients with oral problems. In cats specific FeLV and FIV testing is often warranted.
Do our pets need their teeth?
With the advent of good pet food, increased knowledge and care, our pets do not need their teeth as much as we do. They can eat very well, and have good digestion, with no teeth. This is often much better than an unhealthy mouth with gingivitis, tartar, active infection, with teeth present.
Root canal therapy, fillings and orthodontics are not common-place in veterinary medicine for a variety of reasons. We try to save teeth where possible (especially canines that help form the architecture of many faces) but the decision to remove a tooth is ruled by the need to have a healthy mouth, teeth or no teeth, which leads to an overall healthy patient.
For further information please discuss your pets dental care with a SPVC veterinary staff member.