Dental care for Dogs and Cats

Pet dental health is now a huge cause for concern. This is in large part due to the nature of many pet foods (mushy gourmet pates and individual pouches, and cheap products made palatable by fats, sugar and salt) that pets eat and people pay for but do not promote good gum hygiene and healthy teeth. These diets do not clean the teeth as our pets consume them, and the consequence is painful dental disease. The process begins with bacterial growth in the mouth, plaque and then tartar build up. Gums become inflamed and sore and eventually teeth loosen and are lost.

Often owners do not recognise their pet is suffering pain as the signs may be subtle or attributed to other causes such as old age.

At Crescent Veterinary Centre we are committed to promoting dental healthcare. It is tempting to ignore the problem once dental disease is highlighted or put a decision to act on hold. However, you can transform the life of your pet by acting. Take an old dog or cat with severe dental disease, remove the affected teeth and correct the gum disease, then wait to be amazed at the positive response of your pet with the pain now gone.

Does your pet have bad breath or does your pet drool, drop food or lick rather than chew food? Is your pet eating less, losing weight, grooming less (cats) or quiet and withdrawn. All these signs can be an indicator of painful dental disease.

Why not book an appointment with us for a dental health check on your pet now?


Preventing dental desease is better than cure

How can I prevent dental disease in my pet ?

Tooth brushing is considered the gold standard preventative measure.

Many dogs and cats will tolerate this procedure if introduced to it slowly and gently. It needs to be undertaken regularly to be effective and hence requires commitment.

How to brush your dog’s or cat’s’ teeth

1.   First introduce your pet to toothpaste (use only toothpaste made for animals as these can be swallowed safely ; do not use human toothpaste) by applying some to your finger or a toy. Let them lick the toothpaste – they will love the taste. Do this for 3-5 days

2.   The next step is to place your finger with the applied toothpaste into your pet’s mouth and gently massage the teeth and gums. Repeat this until your pet is comfortable, gradually increasing the areas you are massaging.

3.   The next step is to introduce a finger brush or finger microfibre cloth. It can take 2-3 weeks to master this.

4.  At this stage you should be ready to introduce a toothbrush. Wet the toothbrush with a small amount of water and push the toothpaste well into the bristles. Start with just a few teeth, gradually increasing the number as your pet gets used to it.

Lift the lips to clean the molars and premolars, but you do not need to hold the mouth open. Use an upward and downward motion to gently clean the teeth, paying attention to where the teeth and gums meet.  Start with the back teeth, gradually making your way to the front. When you have mastered this technique it should become part of your daily routine.

A useful guide to tooth brushing can be found at toothbrushing guide

Toothbrushes, finger brushes, finger microfibre cloths and animal toothpaste can be purchased from our practice.

Other preventative options (and available for purchase from us) :

The gold standard diet for teeth care is Hills t/d prescription diet . The kibble is specially designed to help clean your pet’s teeth whilst eating. The kibble is relatively large which encourages chewing and the food fibres are aligned in such a way that the tooth enters the kibble and is scraped clean.

Hills veterinary essentials dry food diet is similar to the above, but the kibble is slightly smaller and not quite as effective. However, this diet is available from us without prescription.

Plaque-off – this can be added to food and helps prevent plaque build-up, the precursor to tartar.

Antibacterial pastes – ‘dentigen’ and ‘dentisept’. These reduce the bacterial presence in the mouth and inhibit the ability of bacteria to create plaque.

Antler horns for dogs – chewing these helps to scrape off the plaque (and provides hours of entertainment without the calories!)

There are many ‘chew sticks’ on the market. Choose carefully as many provide entertainment for your pet but do not promote dental hygiene.