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Dental care
Dental care
Do pets need dental care
Looking after our pets’ teeth is just as
important as looking after our own.
Without healthy teeth and gums, a pet
may not be able to chew food, could
develop bad breath and suffer dental pain.
Feeding a pet sugary treats and not
brushing their teeth can cause build-up
of dental plaque, which is formed
from bacteria. If left, plaque can
form yellow/brown tartar. The acid
created by the bacteria in plaque seriously
damages the surface of
the teeth and irritates
the gums. This can
lead to gingivitis
(inflammation of the
gums), periodontal
disease (damage
to the tissues
around the teeth)
and tooth loss.
Prevention of dental disease
is much better than cure.
Dogs and cats
There are specially
designed foods,
toys and chews
available to
help keep
pets’ teeth
clean.
While these can help, regular
toothbrushing is the best way to keep
the teeth clean and healthy.
Feeding bones is not
recommended as
they can damage
the teeth or gums,
and fragments can
become stuck in
the throat.
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Toothbrushing
Special toothbrushes and toothpastes are
available for dogs and cats. Pet toothpaste,
which usually has a meaty flavour, should
always be used because pets dislike
human toothpaste.
Pets should be introduced to
toothbrushing as young as possible,
though it can be successfully started
in adult animals.
Vets advise that rabbits
should be fed as follows:
Rabbits
Unlike human teeth, rabbit teeth grow
continuously throughout their life. This
means that they need to nibble constantly,
to wear their teeth down. Wild rabbits
achieve this by eating lots of grass. Pet
rabbits should have constant access to
good quality hay. If rabbits don’t eat
enough grass or hay, their teeth can
become overgrown, leading to painful
mouth ulcers. In severe cases, overgrown
tooth roots can even penetrate the eye
socket. Hay is essential in helping to
prevent such tragic cases.
Signs of dental disease in pets
Signs that your pet is suffering from dental
disease include bad breath, yellow/brown
plaque-covered teeth, and red or
bleeding gums.
Other signs include difficulty eating,
food falling from the mouth, a lack of
interest in food, weight loss, face
rubbing and excessive saliva.
At least their body size in hay
each day
A handful of fresh vegetables,
morning and evening
One tablespoon of commercial
rabbit nuggets once a day for
rabbits under 3.5kg, or one
tablespoon twice a day for
rabbits over 3.5kg.
Don’t feed a muesli-type mix to
rabbits as it is linked to painful
dental disease.
PDSA vets advise
Looking after your pet’s teeth is an important part of
maintaining their overall health and wellbeing.
£6 million Appeal
With your help we can build for the future
PDSA faces an ever-increasing demand for its veterinary services. We need to
raise at least £6 million over the next four years to construct four new PDSA
PetAid hospitals, with each one costing approximately £1.5 million.
If you would like to help PDSA by making a donation or by getting involved in
a fundraising initiative, phone 01952 204788 or
email [email protected]
Leading veterinary charity, PDSA, funds and provides veterinary care to
the sick and injured pets of people in need and promotes responsible
pet ownership. The charity operates through a UK-wide network of
48 PetAid hospitals and over 350 PetAid practices (contracted private practices).
For more information on PDSA and its work and to find out how you can help
support the charity by fundraising, volunteering or making a donation:
freephone 0800 917 2509
email [email protected]
PDSA Head Office, Whitechapel Way,
Priorslee, Telford, Shropshire TF2 9PQ
Registered charity nos. 208217 & SC037585
www.pdsa.org.uk
SVA0-0174 © The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals 2010
PDSA
For pet owners registered at PDSA PetAid hospitals a range of
preventive treatments are sold. These include neutering, vaccinations,
microchipping, prescription diets, and flea and worm treatments.
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