Dog dental problems are on the rise with one in six of vets seeing 20 or more cases per week. Poor diet and owners not brushing their dog’s teeth often enough or correctly are the most common causes of teeth problems. The worst case scenarios for untreated tooth and gum disease in animals can result in tooth extractions, blood poisoning, tooth loss, disease in other organs and even death.
Despite the extent of teeth problems, less than a third of owners brush their dog's teeth. Treating a dog for dental typically costs £186.52, but can be upwards of £300, says Direct Line Pet Insurance. The most common course of remedial treatment is a scale and polish treatment at the vets, under anaesthetic, accompanied by regular tooth brushing and using dental food or chews.
Some of the most common signs a dog may be suffering from a dental problem are:
- Blood on their toys
- Facial swelling
- Dropping food
- Favouring one side of the mouth
- Bad breath.
Brushing your dog’s teeth isn’t just about cleaning its teeth and gums; it’s about reducing harmful bacteria entering your pet's bloodstream and preventing painful dental conditions, as well as recognising what's normal in your dog's mouth. Only by knowing what healthy teeth and gums look like will you be able to spot any abnormalities early.
TV vet and animal-welfare campaigner Marc Abraham says: "There are three reasons owners give for not cleaning their dog's teeth; the dog doesn't like it, it takes too much time or they feed their dog dried food so feel they don't need to. None of these are good enough excuses.
"By using treats and praise, most dogs end up enjoying their daily tooth brushing. Once you’ve got the hang of it, cleaning can be done in minutes. However dry your dog's food is, it is never a substitute for actually physically cleaning your dog's teeth."
Here, Marc shows us how to clean your dog's teeth:
- There are more money-saving tips in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.