Pet dental health? It’s not really what you’d expect a dentist to be writing about, is it?
Our job is to care for our human patients, not their special furry friends.
But what if I told you, we humans can have a tendency to do more for our pets’ health and wellbeing than for our own? I’m sure if I asked a sample group from our dental family, there’d be more than a few sheepish nods of agreement.
If that’s you (hello!), let’s set the record straight on pet (and people) dental health.
Is Pet Dental Health a Thing?
The simple answer to this question is yes!
If you’re like me, you love your pet.
The Miller household is home to one rescue dog, Buster, and three (crazy) cats. (Yes, our Burmese kitties, Chico, Kirra and Luna really are crazy). It’s an understatement to say we love them and that they’re part of the family.
Buster’s recent visit to the vet for his regular oral health exam got me thinking. Many pet owners will do the essentials for their animal, but not themselves. Hmm. Why is that?
Just like us, pets benefit from a program of good oral health care. In fact, it’s essential for a healthy and happy life. With a regular clean and check, our pet family members are less likely to suffer dental disease, such as periodontitis (gum disease) and tooth decay. Like us, if dental disease is left untreated, it can cause complications for animals. Other more serious issues, such as heart, kidney and liver infections, can develop too.
Very much like little children, pets rely on us. They need us as owners to book their dental exam appointment. And I think that’s the key. It’s up to us to notice their discomfort and take action. But do you realise, you rely on you too. It’s up to us to look after us when it comes to dental health because prevention really is the best medicine.
What’s a Good Pet Dental Health Protocol?
A good pet dental health protocol involves a few simple measures.
The priority for pet dental health is a regular thorough oral examination and clean. Unlike people, your animal should be anaesthetised. If your pet is conscious, things can be problematic for the vet and the animal. Without anaesthetic, a simple exam and clean can be stressful and painful. From the vet’s perspective, it can be very difficult to assess, diagnose and treat your animal correctly too. Among other things, an assessment that’s not well executed could result in gingivitis, plaque build up, and other serious issues being missed.
It might sound like I’m repeating myself, but what about dental care for us?
Well, let’s just say my observation from 30 years of caring for people is that we tend to be a bit slower to move when our own health is under question. Unless we’re in the habit of maintaining our own protocol of good oral care, we’ll only act when we absolutely have to, like a dental emergency. But it really doesn’t have to be this way. A basic dental health program for people is pretty straightforward.
It includes visiting the dentist or hygienist for a regular hygiene check and clean. Throw in daily flossing and brushing, eating well and keeping sugar to a minimum and you’ve got it wrapped up.
Easy? Well, we might need a bit more training. Kind of like Buster with his stick.
It wouldn’t take an emergency for us to look after our pet’s dental health. And the same rule should apply for us. Good oral health really is an important foundation for a healthy and happy life, and it’s totally in our control.
If you haven’t booked in for your next dental health check, maybe now’s the perfect time.
Dr Mark Miller has been caring for the local Helensvale and broader Gold Coast community for over thirty years. His approach to dentistry is focused on helping people to understand the connection between their oral health and overall physical wellbeing. He is friendly, funny, and most of all, very caring. If you’d like to discuss your treatment options for any oral health issues, we’d love to book a time for you to chat with one of our team. Tel 5573 0188.
Here is 3 easy steps for your pet dental health at home (Courtesy of Dr Sam Allmark – Carindale Vet Surgery)
1. Teeth Brushing is essential for your pet dental health as it is with our own teeth. Starting at an early age is best but anytime is a good time to start. We suggest starting with just your finger in your pet’s mouth to let them get used to the sensation. From there we can introduce a microfiber finger cloth with just water on it. Again this is so they get used to something being used on their teeth. From there we can introduce an extra soft baby tooth brush and some animal toothpaste. These come in the fantastic flavours of poultry and beef. Pets, especially dogs, do not like a minty taste. The trick is to try and make this a fun experience for you both. If you need any tricks you can see your friendly Veterinary team who are happy to show you how and give pointers.
2. Dental treats and teeth washes are another great way to help prevent the build up of plaque and tarter. Products such as Greenies and Hexarinse are specially designed to help reduce dental disease when used correctly. Please see your friendly Veterinary staff for more information on both these products and demonstrations on how to use them effectively to combat dental disease in your pet.
3. Dental specific diets are another great way to help reduce dental disease. Hills T/D has been specially designed for one purpose. To fight plaque and tartar. The biscuit itself has been made so when your pet bites into it the kibble it engulfs the tooth rather than crumbling like normal biscuits, the fibres of the biscuit then work in a bush like action cleaning the surface of the tooth to remove the harmful layer of bacteria on the tooth that would form plaque. Hills T/D is a complete and balanced diet for your pet and is suitable for every meal.
With a combination of these 3 easy steps and regular 6 monthly dental checks with your Veterinary team, your pet dental health will be on the right track and you could see up to an 80% reduction of dental disease. Contact your Veterinary Surgery, if you have any questions about your pet’s teeth or any of the dental products.
Thank you to Dr Sam Allmark Carindale Vet for these 3 easy tips. Web – http://www.carindalevet.com