Your pup loses their deciduous (or ‘baby’) teeth at around 6 months of age and their new adult teeth need to last a lifetime of chewing up their food, catching balls, playing tug, fetching your slippers and occasionally gnawing on one of your favourite shoes!
But those teeth aren’t going to go the distance if we don’t look after them, so it’s best to establish a Dental Care Routine, just as we do for ourselves, early on in your pup’s life.
Without adequate dental care your pup will quickly develop bad breath, unhealthy gums and rotten teeth caused by a disease process called ‘Periodontal Disease’ or ‘PD’. In fact, by 3 years of age 85% of dogs suffer from PD. What is Periodontal Disease?
The chances of developing PD are greatly increased in brachycephalic breeds (like bulldogs and pugs) due to dental overcrowding and in dogs who have retained deciduous teeth. So it’s a good idea to have your dog’s teeth checked regularly at The Pet Doctors to ensure these issues are recognised early.
How Do I Prevent Dental Disease?
Your dentist recommends using dental floss and brushing your teeth to slow down the onset of diseases like cavities, gingivitis and tartar. As your vet, we also recommend starting a dental care routine just like the one that we demonstrate at Puppy Preschool when your pup is about 8 to 12 weeks old, so they get used to the routine right from the get-go.
There are many ways to help keep your dog’s teeth in great condition well into their senior years.
When Do I Need To Take My Dog To The Pet Doctors?
Whenever you bring your dog to The Pet Doctors for, say their Annual Check Up & Vaccinations, we check the teeth and gums and discuss any problems with you. Between routine check-ups, if you happen to notice your dog has anything out of the ordinary (see ‘Signs of Periodontal Disease’ below) like bad breath, inflamed gums or damaged teeth then you should Book an Appointment with Us.
Signs of Periodontal Disease
Swollen red gums.
Difficulty eating – often a pet stops eating hard food and will only want soft food
What’s Involved In A Professional Dental Clean?
Periodically we will recommend that your dog has a professional dental clean just like when your own dentist checks, scales and polishes your teeth annually or biannually. The difference is dogs won’t sit still for a scale and polish and need to be anaesthetised (General anaesthetic or ‘GA’). The best way to minimise how often your dog needs a GA is to keep their teeth and gums as healthy as you can with a home dental care routine.
If your dog has more advanced dental disease, then we may need to do x-rays and more advanced treatments under anaesthesia. We assess all dogs in a consultation before any dentistry, including blood tests to ensure they are OK to be anaesthetised. If you have any questions, that’s a good time to ask us.
If you have any questions about dental care routines or professional dental treatments, please do not hesitate to Contact Us.