August is National Pet Dental Health Month and is celebrated to help raise awareness of the importance of pet oral hygiene.

Research by the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) shows that four out of every five dogs are said to have some sort of dental disease, making it a significant issue among the animal population.

Dr Kathy Macmillan, veterinarian at PETstock, reveals the top five things you should know about your pet’s teeth.

Puppy and kitten teething

“Puppies and kittens will first grow a set of baby teeth (also called primary or deciduous teeth) between two to four weeks of age. When your puppy or kitten is between four months and six months of age these teeth will fall out, to be replaced by the larger, adult teeth. The final adult teeth should emerge by seven months of age.”

Bad smelling breath in pets

“Periodontal disease is a progressive inflammatory disease that effects the bone and gums in a pet’s mouth and is caused by a build-up of dental plaque and tartar on the teeth. Bad breath along with inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) are key symptoms of periodontal disease in its early stages – so it’s important to address any concerns you may have with your vet before it escalates further and causes pain and tooth loss.”

Brushing your pet’s teeth

“Whether you have a cat or dog, brushing their teeth regularly can help to maintain their oral hygiene and prevent possible infection. To clean your pet’s teeth, you’ll need specialised toothbrushes and toothpaste that are designed for pets.

“Other products that can be used to clean a pet’s teeth include dental wipes, mouth freshening water additives and fresh breath foam.”

Dental treats and diets

“Dental treats, such as Bell & Bone’s Roo and Turmeric Dental Sticks, are an easy way of helping to maintain your pet’s oral hygiene, as they work to reduce unwanted plaque, prevent tartar and bad breath.

“Dental diets are another option to help keep pet’s teeth and gums healthy. The food is specifically formulated with special ingredients that create more friction with the teeth than normal kibble, reducing the risk of plaque or tartar build up.”

Veterinary dental check-ups

“Sometimes, a dental treat or diet won’t work for your pets’ specific needs. If there is tartar build up on your dog or cat’s teeth this could indicate progression of dental disease. Early intervention with a scale and polish under anaesthetic can help prevent more severe problems from developing that can cause pain and require dental extractions. If you are unsure if your pet has dental disease, you can visit any PETstock Vet for a free dental check-up.”

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