Caring for your pet’s teeth

Date: 09 Feb 2021

Throughout February OSCAR Pet Foods will be waving their pet's toothbrushes to help raise awareness for Pet Dental Health Month.

Approximately 80% of dogs and cats over 3 years old have a form of dental disease, so it is important we look after our pet’s oral health. There are many things we can do to look after our pet’s teeth but the most effective way of reducing plaque is through regular brushing and cleaning.

Veterinary Dental Care

Dental problems aren’t usually noticed until an animal is in a lot of pain, which is why it is important to have regular checks with your veterinary practice. Once tartar has formed, professional scaling and polishing under general anaesthetic will be required through your veterinary practice. This will provide a full scale and polish, and any damaged teeth that may be causing pain and discomfort will be removed.

Dog at the vets

If pets don’t receive early treatment dental disease can progress quickly, which can lead to irreversible damage. It can also lead to many other illnesses such as kidney, liver and heart conditions.

Early signs of dental disease may include:

  • Bad breath
  • Pain and difficulty eating
  • Excessive drooling and staining around the mouth
  • Buildup of plaque and tartar
  • Wobbly, missing or broken teeth

Teeth Brushing

The key to management of dental disease is prevention, and it is possible to brush your dog’s and cat’s teeth, especially if trained from a young age.

Cat dental care is important from a young age to help protect against plaque, tartar and dental disease

Consider your pet’s temperament before attempting to brush their teeth in case they are uncomfortable with having their mouth handled.

  • Begin with gentle handling (if tolerated) around the mouth, teeth and gums. Reward with lots of fuss and praise for a positive experience.
  • Once comfortable with gentle handling, begin touching the teeth with your fingers and add dog and cat toothpaste for your pet to lick.
  • Do NOT use human toothpaste as this can be toxic to your pet.
  • Introduce a toothbrush with the paste on and allow your pet to lick the toothbrush. It takes a few days for them to get used to this.

Once your pet is feeling more comfortable you can begin to brush. Start with the side teeth first and then move to the rest of the teeth as they gain confidence. This may take several days.

Use toothpaste designed for dogs and cats and NEVER use human toothpaste. Take your time to allow your pet to become accustomed to the paste, toothbrush and the handling. It can take a month to build up confidence.

Specific foods designed to support dental care

OSCAR Pet Foods offer two types of dental support in the range:

STAY-C® 50* is a specialist source of Vitamin C that dissolves in the saliva and is coated onto our kibble to help support healthy gums and manage plaque and tartar buildup. It is found within our Wheat Gluten Free range in Maize, Lamb & Rice and Maize, Chicken & Rice. Bitter Orange Extract offers dental support with an antibacterial effect that helps to limit the buildup of bacteria on teeth to support healthy gums and this is found throughout the OSCAR cat range.

Cleaning your dog's teeth as part of a regular routine can help your dog feel more comfortable having their mouth looked at and make it easier to see dental problems early on.

Alternatives to brushing your pet's teeth

If you are unable to brush your pet’s teeth there are other alternatives available for you to try such as:

  • Oral gels such as Beaphar Tooth Gel for neutralising plaque and bad breath - Dental chews to help prevent plaque buildup
  • Oral such as Beaphar Plaque Away rinses for reducing plaque and freshening breath
  • Dental diets formulated to help prevent plaque buildup in dogs and cats

Do you need further dental advice for you dog or cat?

If you need any further advice, please contact the OSCAR Helpline Team. Our freephone number is 0800 195 8000 or email us at: helpline@oscars.co.uk.

*STAY-C® 50 is a trademark of DSM

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