VET’S VIEW: Diet and dentistry are important for pets

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WHEN I visit my dentist, we often compare notes – although it tends to be a bit of a one-sided conversation, as my mouth is usually full of instruments at the time.

I wish I could ask my patients to sit in a chair and open wide, but sometimes it’s a struggle just to look at the teeth, let alone treat them!

In the wild, animals’ teeth get naturally cleaned by the food they eat, so problems can arise for our pets if the diet does not have sufficient texture, and this is particularly the case if they are fed exclusively tinned or cooked food. Finding food, chews, treats or toys that can reproduce this natural cleaning action will go a long way to keeping your pet’s mouth healthy. For example, some dry foods now come in a special kibble that the teeth can sink into, or you can buy toys with ridged surfaces that clean the teeth as your pet plays with them. As with us, brushing the teeth can give superior results and may actually be essential for some animals that are not natural chewers.

It can be a challenge, so for best results, use products especially designed for animals, and get your pet used to it from an early age. If your pet has a problem with its teeth, it may start dribbling or pawing at

its mouth, and you may notice that it has bad breath or is eating less.

Seek advice from your vet, as prompt action – in the form of scaling and polishing the teeth – can help to prevent tooth loss due to gum disease.

At Northdale, we are currently offering free dental check-ups with a nurse, and discounts on routine teeth cleaning and dental health products, so this could be a great time to check your pet’s teeth are in optimum condition.