There is no doubt that dental disease is a widespread problem in the pets that we see in practice. It is one of the top three disorders according to a study by VetCompass.

As with most things being aware of a problem or the potential for a problem is the first step to resolving it.

For many pet owners, their pets’ mouth is usually something that they do not look in and a dental problem may not become obvious until there are other clear signs present such as bad breath, the pet eating less or dropping food.

Pet owners should consider the benefit of prevention and in particular, correct diet, regular dental check-ups and prompt treatment can make a real difference to the health and welfare of pets. Things to think about:

Toothbrushing isn’t just for humans

Bad breath doesn’t have to be a problem for our pets. It is something that we can help to prevent and often successfully improve. However, the thought of trying to brush the wriggly puppy’s teeth or the not very impressed cat’s teeth is daunting and therefore often avoided. Yet we know that brushing pets’ teeth can be one of the most effective ways of preventing dental disease and it also beneficial in getting the pet used to a regular oral examination.

Diet

The other aspect, and one of particular importance for rabbits, is diet. Getting the diet right can also help with dental disease and, just as importantly, will aid in reducing obesity which is one of the major welfare concerns in vets’ practices – a real win-win.

Check-ups and treatment

Prevention is not feasible for all owners and even when owners do all the right things, dental disease can still occur which is why it is vital that pets get regular dental check-ups. Potentially painful dental disease can only be treated if it is spotted early. It is often an unseen problem for owners – an unseen problem that could be causing significant discomfort and other potential problems.

An essential part of the identification and treatment of dental disease is the use of x-rays to help spot any problems that could otherwise go undetected. Using this technology your pet gets a thorough dental examination and it avoids the pet leaving the vets with a potentially painful ‘hidden’ issue. At my practice, for example, we have the latest dental x-ray technology available to ensure nothing goes undetected.

I would encourage all pet owners to see the benefits prevention, correct diet, regular dental check-ups, and prompt treatment can make to the health and welfare of pets.