What can we do to look after our pets’ teeth at home?

By Nurse Kelly

Dog and cat teeth require dental care just like ours. We often see pets’ suffering from dental problems which could be prevented if we have a good regime of dental care at home. Of course routine cleanings and veterinary treatment can also be required, much the same as us brushing and flossing at home and then visiting our dentist for a clean and check up!

So what products are available?

  • Dental diets – Dental diets are very helpful at reducing tartar buildup that normal diets do not. Hills T/D works by mechanical action. The biscuits have interlocking fibres that the tooth has to penetrate to break apart. This causes an abrasive action on the tooth. Royal Canin dental works in 2 ways; by mechanical action and enzyme action. The biscuits cause abrasive action against the teeth (mechanical) and also contain sodium polyphosphates that bind salivary calcium, which prevents tartar formation (enzyme).
  • Tooth brushing – Tooth brushing is really the best way to prevent tartar build up. For tooth brushing to be effective it needs to be done at least once daily. It is best to start your pet off as early as possible to get them used to brushing. It is important not to us human toothpaste (which may contain toxic ingredients to our pets) but to us just water or a pet specific one. Our nurses can give you good tips on tooth brushing!
  • Water/Diet additives – Water/Diet additives are helpful for pets’ which may not allow tooth brushing. Aquadent is a product you can add to the water bowl which helps to reduce bacteria in the mouth, the bacteria which cause tartar to form. Plaque off is a powder which can be added on top of food that works in a similar way. These products are nice and easy to use but can be very effective.
  • Dental treats – Dental treats are also helpful at reducing tartar build up. Greenies are available for both cats and dogs and work by mechanical action. These need to be given daily. Oravet is a similar product for dogs which as well as the mechanical action also has the enzyme action. It contains delmopinol HCl which coats the mouth and prevents tartar build up. It is therefore best to feed Oravet last thing at night so that the coating has time to establish before the next meal.

Don’t forget here at Willunga and Aldinga Veterinary Services our nurses are highly trained in assessing teeth and providing advice. We offer FREE dental checks with nurses, call to book today! Dental care is an important part of pet ownership in keeping your pet healthy. We know how much pets’ make us smile so we want to look after their smile.