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Dental care for your pet

by Angela Hickey | 2 min read

June 15th, 2021

Our pet’s teeth need care from very early on in life. Without daily dental care from the time they are puppies or kittens most pets will need their first veterinary cleaning procedure by three years of age.

What causes dental problems?

It’s quite simple really! Food debris, saliva and bacteria in the mouth causes a build- up of plaque on the teeth. This hardens into a dark coloured tartar which is unsightly and can lead to a painful gingivitis (inflammation of the gums).

Apart from natural tooth decay another cause of dental problems is fractured teeth in dogs due to biting down on hard bones or stones. This often causes fractures of the carnassial or ‘cheek teeth’ in dogs, with infection then tracking up the fracture line and causing an abscess on the cheek. The tooth will need to be removed and the infection treated with antibiotics.

Genetic problems may cause poor conformation of the jaw, with an ‘undershot’ or ‘overshot jaw’, crowding of teeth, displacement of teeth, delay in loss of ‘milk teeth’ etc. Veterinary assessment of your pet’s oral health and conformation is vital from the very first visit to your vet as many problems may be prevented.

What are the signs you need to look out for?
What to do if your pet has the above symptoms?

Pay a visit to your vet! From 3 years on it is likely that your pet will need an annual professional cleaning under an anaesthetic. This involves the use of an ultrasonic de-scaler to remove hard tartar and then a polishing which will leave the teeth smooth and less susceptible to plaque build-up. Loose teeth may need to be extracted.

Your vet may refer you to a vet who specialises in dentistry for procedures like fillings, root canals etc. to save damaged or fractured teeth.

What can you do to care for your pet’s teeth?

About the author

bio image for Angela Hickey
Angela Hickey

Allianz in-house vet and qualified psychotherapist