Keep Your Pet's Smile Shining: Celebrating Animal Dental Care Month

Pet Care Pet Health Cats Dogs Posted Aug 28, 2023
During Dental Care Awareness Month, RSPCA Queensland is encouraging pet owners to understand the importance of good dental hygiene leading to healthy, happy pets!
Dental disease is the most common health condition affecting pets, with 70 per cent of cats and 80 per cent of dogs experiencing some level of dental disease by the time they are three years of age.

It's vital to take care of your pet's teeth at home, but they also need regular check-ups with a vet to stay on top of their dental health.

How common are animal dental procedures at RSPCA Queensland

RSPCA Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Anne Chester said her staff perform dentals daily on pets, with the most common procedure a scale and polish.

This is performed under general anaesthetic, and we remove the tartar from the teeth, just like a visit to a human dentist.

The next most common procedure would be to identify and remove any teeth that are too damaged to be preserved- this will usually involve an x-ray at this time.

Animals that have had dentals are often recommended to go on special diet to help keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Tips to improve your pet's dental health

The most effective thing you can do, which may seem a bit surprising, is brushing your pet's teeth.

This may seem a little daunting, but if you start this routine early, most animals will get used to their teeth being brushed.

To clean their teeth, squeeze some pet toothpaste onto a microfibre cloth (cleaned and replaced as necessary, and used only for this purpose) and gently rub it over every tooth.

Tip: Don't use human toothpaste as this can cause stomach issues for your pet.

Generally, the younger your pet is when you start training them to have their teeth brushed, the easier it is.

It is a good idea to introduce tooth brushing gradually, especially if your pet is a bit older.

Your vet can give you advice related to your specific pet.

Whittaker's story

Whittaker the Bull Arab, 8, was surrendered to RSPCA Queensland in early August and presented with severe dental health complications.

Dental disease and worn teeth were just two of a long list of ailments for Whittaker, with vets having to remove teeth and a lump in his mouth.

Whittaker now boasts a cheesy and contagious smile, thanks to an ultrasonic scale and polish as part of his dental treatment.

Whittaker is available for adoption to his forever home from our RSPCA Adoption Centre at Wacol.

Dental care products are available to help

There are other tried and tested methods you can introduce at home to immediately improve your pet’s dental health.  

Chew toys, animal dental treats along with dozens of products on the RSPCA World for Pets website will all help to make a huge difference.  

Tropiclean Oral Care for Dogs and Cats Water Additive, Clinical Pet Care Enzymatic Toothpaste and a toothbrush and paste kit are just some of the dental products available.

Dental disease comes in many forms

If your pet displays any of these dental disease symptoms, seek veterinary treatment immediately:

  • Bad breath
  • Mouth soreness
  • Difficulty eating
  • Reduced appetite
  • Loss of teeth
  • Red or bleeding gums
  • pawing at the mouth
  • Tartar buildup
  • Unexplained drooling

If you have any questions regarding dental care for your pet, talk with your vet or check out more information on our RSPCA Knowledgebase.

With the right care and attention from you and your vet, you can keep your pet's teeth and gums in great shape.

Jacobbe McBride
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