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How to brush your dog’s teeth


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Pet dental care advice

Dental disease is very common in cats and dogs. Surveys show that after the age of three years, about seven out of ten pets have some kind of tooth disorders. If left unattended these may cause irreversible damage to the dog's teeth, gums and jawbones. Stopping the build up of plaque can prevent dental disease.

Oral Health

Periodontal (gum) disease is one of the most common conditions seen by veterinary surgeons today. The problems begin when plaque and tartar are allowed to build up on your pet’s teeth.

Plaque harbours the bacteria, which can infect gum tissue and the roots of teeth, causing disease and tooth loss. The bacteria can also enter the blood stream and may cause damage to organs. Recent studies have shown that heart, liver and kidney disease can be associated with these bacteria.

What are the signs of poor oral health?

  • Persistent bad breath
  • Sensitivity around mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty eating and chewing food
  • Pawing at mouth
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Bleeding, inflamed or receding gums
  • Tartar (creamy-brown hard material on teeth)

It is important to remember that pets with dental pain may not show obvious signs and they frequently maintain a normal appetite.

If you are concerned about your pet’s teeth, contact the practice and arrange a free dental health check.

Good dental care for dogs and cats

The first step in promoting oral health is to have your pet thoroughly examined by a veterinary surgeon. It may be necessary for your pet’s teeth to be cleaned above and below the gum-line. This simple cleaning procedure requires your pet to be anaesthetised. Recent advancements in anesthetic techniques and materials have greatly reduced the risks previously associated with this procedure.

It is then recommended that an oral hygiene programme be started at home. A good cat or dog dental cleaning routine involves daily tooth brushing as it is considered to be the most effective way of removing plaque. Special toothbrushes and toothpastes designed for dogs and cats are available.

Dental products such as toothpastes are available at our surgery. These toothpastes appeal to pets and do not need to be rinsed. Human toothpastes or baking soda should not be used as they contain ingredients, which should not be swallowed.

Pet toothbrushes are ultra soft and are shaped to fit your pets mouth and teeth. However, any soft bristled brush which will reach the back of the mouth is adequate. Brushes should be replaced every 4-6 weeks.

When brushing is not practical, an antibacterial oral rinse or gel may be recommended. These products are specially made for pets and with daily use can help to slow the build-up of dental plaque.

Cat and dog dental care: How to brush your pet’s teeth

Brushing your pet’s teeth is easy and does not take much time. The first step is to pick a time when both you and your pet are relaxed. For the first few days simply hold your pet, as you would normally do when you are petting him/her. Gently stroke the outside of the cheeks with your finger for a minute or two. After each session, reward your pet with an appropriate treat and lots of praise.

For the next few days – after your pet has become comfortable with this activity – place a small amount of the toothpaste on your finger and let your pet sample the flavour.

Next, introduce your pet to a pet toothbrush or finger brush. Place a small amount of toothpaste on the brush and gently raise your pets’s upper lip and place the brush against an upper tooth. With a slow circular motion gently brush only that tooth and the adjoining gum-line.

Each day gradually increase the number of teeth brushed. But go slowly. Do not continue beyond your pet’s point of comfort. Build up to approximately 30 seconds of brushing per side.

After each session, reward your pet with a treat and lots of praise. Brushing should be done daily but missing 1-2 days per week would not be a big concern.

 

Diet

Diet can be a major factor in the development of plaque and tartar. Soft foods, or brittle dry kibble that crumbs on impact, may contribute to plaque build-up and subsequent periodontal disease.

We therefore recommend food containing special non-brittle fibrous, as they can be helpful in preventing plaque build up above the gum line. Hill’s t/d, which we stock, is considered the best of its type.

Dental chews can be a useful addition to brushing and/or diet but should not be relied on alone.

Arrange your free dental health check

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White Cross Vets, The Parkway Centre, Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough TS8 0TJ

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The Boulevard, Weston Favell Shopping Centre, Northampton, NN3 8JP

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Unit 3 West Dyke Road Retail Park, Redcar TS10 2AA

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2-3 Millfields Court, Millfield Road, Eccleston, St Helens WA10 5RG

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110 Leamore Lane, Bloxwich, Walsall WS2 7BU

White Cross Vets, Widnes

Fir Park, Queensbury Way, Widnes WA8 9BD

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High Street, Wolstanton, Newcastle-under-Lyme ST5 0EW

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333A Penn Road, Wolverhampton WV4 5QF

Select your practice

White Cross Vets, Birmingham – Kings Heath

283 Alcester Road South, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 6EB

White Cross Vets, Bradford – Eccleshill

266 Harrogate Road, Eccleshill, Bradford BD2 3RH

White Cross Vets, Derby – Alvaston

1238 London Road, Alvaston, Derby, DE24 8QP

White Cross Vets, Dudley – Tividale

194 Regent Road, Tividale, Oldbury, B69 1SB

White Cross Vets, Leeds – Guiseley

8 Bradford Road, Guiseley, Leeds LS20 8NH

White Cross Vets, Leeds – Roundhay

31 Street Lane, Roundhay, Leeds LS8 1BW

White Cross Vets, Liverpool – Gateacre

33 Gateacre Park Drive, Gateacre, Liverpool L25 1PD

White Cross Vets, Liverpool – West Derby

200-202 Muirhead Avenue, West Derby, Liverpool, L13 0BA

White Cross Vets, Manchester – Walkden

Mayfield Avenue, Walkden, Worsley, Manchester M28 3JF

White Cross Vets, Middlesbrough – Coulby Newham

White Cross Vets, The Parkway Centre, Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough TS8 0TJ

White Cross Vets, Northampton

The Boulevard, Weston Favell Shopping Centre, Northampton, NN3 8JP

White Cross Vets, Redcar

Unit 3 West Dyke Road Retail Park, Redcar TS10 2AA

White Cross Vets, St Helens

2-3 Millfields Court, Millfield Road, Eccleston, St Helens WA10 5RG

White Cross Vets, Walsall – Bloxwich

110 Leamore Lane, Bloxwich, Walsall WS2 7BU

White Cross Vets, Widnes

Fir Park, Queensbury Way, Widnes WA8 9BD

White Cross Vets, Wolstanton

High Street, Wolstanton, Newcastle-under-Lyme ST5 0EW

White Cross Vets, Wolverhampton

333A Penn Road, Wolverhampton WV4 5QF