Brush up on your pet's dental care

You look after your teeth by brushing them every day, but what about your pet?

Just like us, dogs and cats can get rotten teeth and gum problems - so it's important to ensure they have a dental routine, according to PDSA.

Giving their teeth a good brush a few times a week will help keep their mouth healthy, the veterinary charity says.

Special toothbrushes and pet-friendly toothpaste are available, and if you start when they are young they quickly get used to it as part of their routine.

PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan explains: "Dental disease causes pain and can be linked to other health problems. It's often more obvious in older animals but starts early: four in five dogs have serious gum disease by the age of three.

"As with humans, plaque -- a mixture of food particles and bacteria -- sticks to the surface of our pet's teeth. Over time, the minerals in pet saliva harden the plaque, turning it into tartar which firmly attaches to the teeth. Problems come when plaque and tartar develop under the gums causing discomfort and damage of the tissue surrounding the teeth."

The charity recommends taking things slowly and getting your pet used to having their teeth cleaned over a few weeks.

First, let them taste the pet toothpaste by letting them lick a small amount from the end of your finger.

Next, get them used to having their mouth touched and try gently rubbing a soft cloth along their gums and teeth.

You can then apply toothpaste to your finger and rub along the gums and teeth, gradually progressing to a toothbrush.

While it's best to start this in puppies and kittens, older animals can also become accustomed to brushing - it just might take a little longer.

Other ways to help maintain a healthy mouth include feeding specially formulated dental diets, offering dental chews and special toys to help with tooth cleaning, and avoiding sticky, sweet foods.

And if you notice any signs of dental disease, such as brad breath, excessive drooling, difficulty eating or rubbing the face with their paws, make an appointment with your vet.

If you are concerned about your pet's wellbeing please visit our pet advice page for more information


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