Pet Health: The perfect smile

Advice from vet Darren Storey on how to look after your dog's teeth
Advice from vet Darren Storey on how to look after your dog's teeth

Vet Darren Storey brings you the latest news from Northlands Veterinary Hospital.

A dog’s teeth are vital not only to survival but also for them to play and enjoy themselves.

Yup, they obviously help them eat but let’s not forget the ball catching, carrying and the many games of tug-o-war.

We all brush our teeth at least twice a day, yet over time they do deteriorate.

We even have professionals dedicated to the care of our mouths.

Now, imaging if you never brushed your teeth, yuk!

Ok, you may have a few mints, or chew the odd stick for gum, but it is no substitute.

I see more and more bad mouths when I complete my health checks, but what surprises me more is that owners don’t seem to appreciate the problems that can be caused from them being this way.

“Oh, but he is still eating fine,” I hear.

This may be the case, but if it were a choice of going hungry or bearing a bit of pain I know what I would choose.

Not only should you appreciate any discomforts to your pet but also the increased risk of infections. T

heir gums have quite a good blood supply and a lot of bacteria.

Bacterial access to the blood stream isn’t a great mix, so any wounds or inflammation of the gums can lead to widespread infections.

How to care for your dog’s mouth

Regular brushing at least every other day.

Dry food is better than wet as it reduces plaque build up.

Dentastixs have their place from time to time; not only through direct rubbing but also encouraging the production of saliva; naturally protecting their teeth.

Instead of dog treats, substitute them with things like raw veg.

Try not to feed your dog too many rich foods with higher sugar contents; especially certain human foods.

I suppose the best advice I can share is to put yourself in your dog’s position and you’ll know what you would need to have a healthy mouth.

Start your care regime when they are puppies and make it fun; they will then be more than happy to allow you to care for their mouths/teeth.

If you start early you can save your pet a lot of discomfort and risk, but also it will mean less chance of needing dental procedures and less money needing spent on your dog.

Prevention is always better than the cure.

Whether you are a client of Northlands or not we will happily give you more advice if you need it.

Please call 01536 485543 and ask to speak to a clinical member of staff.