Dental checks vital for pet health

AWL Ipswich head vet Dean Tait is urging people to have their dog’s teeth checked during National Pet Dental Health Month.
AWL Ipswich head vet Dean Tait is urging people to have their dog’s teeth checked during National Pet Dental Health Month. Sarah Harvey

IPSWICH vets are encouraging dog owners to brush up on their pet’s dental health as part of the Australian Veterinary Association’s (AVA) Pet Dental Health Month throughout August.

With about 80 per cent of family pets over the age of three having some dental problem, vets now spend August each year focusing on dental health issues.

Animal Welfare League head vet Dean Tait said prevention was better than cure when it came to doggie dental health.

“You don’t often look into your dog’s mouth and in some severe cases dental disease can be life threatening,” Dr Tait said.

“The teeth can become so rotten that they rot into the bones and the jaw breaks.

“But there are ways to avoid this, including special diets, mouth washes, and using special pet toothpaste that is safe to swallow.”

AVA’s dental health special interest group spokesman Dr Christine Hawke said one of the major causes of dental health problems was the damage to dogs’ teeth caused by bones.

“Although bones are a popular treat used by many pet owners for dental care, they can cause some serious problems for our furry friends,” she said.

“Common oral problems caused by bones can include broken teeth, and injuries to the gums and tongue.

"They can also cause constipation, blockages and food poisoning.

“It’s important to talk to your vet about alternatives to giving bones to your dog as there are many products which are less likely to cause damage to your dog’s teeth.”

Common signs of dental problems that owners should keep an eye out for include bad breath, inflamed gums and teeth that are stained with tartar.

The AWL offers free dental checks all year round.

Topics:  australian veterinary association ipswich

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