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What’s That All About? – Teeth
In light of dental month, Pet insurance Australia takes a look at our pet’s teeth and why it is so important to look after them.
From pups and older dogs, kittens and fully-grown cats, they all share one important feature…teeth! Just like our own teeth, your pet’s chompers are very important for everyday life, and when there is a problem it can be costly and very painful.
One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to our pet’s teeth, is that they don’t need to be cleaned. This is a major myth and can lead to an assortment of serious problems later down the track. The major one being periodontal or dental disease.
As the mouth is the gateway to your pet’s blood and organs, periodontal disease can lead to an array of nasty issues including;
- Damage the heart
- Damage to the liver
- Damage to the kidneys
- Sever bone infections
- Holes in the nasal cavity
Understanding teeth – pups & dogs
Your precious pup will have 28 sharp teeth erupting in their mouth between the third and sixth week of age, these are called milk teeth or puppy teeth. it’s no wonder biting down on things can help with the pain. Then at about four months, just like a young child, they will lose their teeth to be replaced by adult permanent teeth…42 in total! This is why young pups love to chew!
Understanding teeth – kittens & cats
Kittens also have milk teeth and will start this process around two weeks of age when their incisors will begin to show. Then by six weeks of age your kitten should have all of their 26 deciduous teeth (meaning teeth that they will lose). By six to seven months of age, these teeth will fall out and be replaced by 30 adult teeth.
Signs of a problem?
- Bad breath
- Staining on teeth
- Bleeding gums
- Excessive salivation
- Soreness around the jaw
- Difficulty chewing
- Unusual swelling associated with the jaw
- Redness around the gum-line
Tips from the expert, Dr Leigh Davidson, Director at Your Vet Online
“Have your veterinarian check your pet’s teeth every 6 months and perform a scale and polish if required and remember anaesthesia free dentistry does nothing for the disease below the gum line,” Dr Davidson says.
“Occasionally they rub their face. Most often, we smell a nasty stench of bad breath. We call this halitosis and if your pet has this it is definitely time to get their mouth checked at the vets. Your animal’s breath should not have a smell that is unpleasant,” Dr Davidson adds.
Other preventative measures include:
1. daily toothbrushing
2. dental chews – check out VOHC.org for those that have a tick of approval
3. prescription dental diets
4. if your pet can handle it – a large, meaty, raw, non-cut bone
5. cats enjoy cooked, long strips of gravy beef