You don’t have to brush a dog’s teeth every day, but you should be aware of their dental health writes Niamh Hennessy
LET’S talk doggy dental care. As cute as puppies are, there’s a lot more to consider than just walks in the park. Looking after a dog’s teeth is one of those.
A recent survey has revealed that three in four dogs and the majority of cats over the age of three suffer from gum disease. These figures would indicate that many pet owners are not taking enough care of their dog and cat’s teeth.
The research from Pedigree and Whiskas found that just 8% of pet owners have a daily dental care routine for their pets, with 59% having no routine at all.
Irish actress, Aoibhin Garrihy has two dogs Rubie and Reggie and only recently became aware of how important doggy dental care is.
“Reggie is a character but a total pet and Rubie is gentle but totally independent,” she said.
Brushing the dog’s teeth certainly wasn’t part of their routine until Aoibhin was made aware of how important it actually is.
“Reggie and Rubie both had a little plaque build up when we went for a dental check up at the vet and so we have learned how to introduce brushing and aim to make it part of our daily routine,” she said.
When starting a dental care routine for dogs, the first step is to look for signs of oral health issues can be a good place to start. Signs to look out for include bad breath, loose teeth, changes in behaviour and eating habits. If a pet’s teeth aren’t cared for it can lead to bad breath, gingivitis and a build-up of infection which has been shown to affect other organs of the pet’s body which could in turn affect their overall health.
Pet expert and veterinary surgeon, Pete Wedderburn said Irish people love their pets and have a strong desire to care for them.
“Dogs and cats hide their pain so getting your dogs used to checking their teeth and gums regularly at home and brushing their teeth is a wonderful way to keep their gums and teeth healthier and fight gum disease.
“It’s best to start when they are a puppy but it is never too late, for older dogs ensure you have a dental check for your dog followed by regular brushing at home,” he said.
The ideal at home routine includes brushing a pet’s teeth regularly, with short sessions to start with. Animals should soon get used to the routine, according to Pete.
“For older dogs, ensure you have a dental check for your dog followed by regular brushing at home. When it comes to cats, it’s important to hold the cat’s head still and very gently separate the lips,” Pete added.
Getting pictured with their dogs is a big deal among the country’s social media glitterati. When it comes to looking after their dog’s teeth however, the reaction is mixed.
Tara O’Farrell, also know as Tara Make-Up in social media circles, said she checks her dogs, Teddy and Ruby’s teeth regularly and gives them a dental stick every week or so.
“Teddy has to get his teeth cleaned once a year because of plague build up which causes bad breath. Ruby doesn’t have the same problem but if we ever have her in the vet we ask them to check her teeth too,” she said.
Beauty blogger, Pamela Laird can’t say them same about her dog, Bambi.
“Bambi is nearly 10 years old now and I’m embarrassed to say I never had a dental routine for her. She’s so small that I didn’t know how to go about checking or cleaning them. I am shocked to see the pedigree statistics that one in three dogs suffers with gum disease,” she said.
Instagramer, Megan Pardy has two dogs, a goldendoodle and a mal-shi and said that she maintains the dog’s dental hygiene with proper dog food to protect their teeth and gums.
“We also use good quality dog chews suitable for their age and size in addition to regular trips to the vet,” she said.
Dancing with the Stars finalist, Aoibhin said it’s not just the dog’s dental care that keeps her on her toes.
“If you are unfamiliar with the breed you won’t know that both Reggie and Rubie are over 50kg each and so it takes a lot of man (and woman) power to control them both if they get something into their head.
“Opting to dine all fresco alone at a packed restaurant recently with Reggie and Rubie tied to my chair and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc seemed like a lovely Sunday evening to me until they spotted another dog who they were determined to say hello to and they uplifted the table, glasses, plates and me along with them. There was total upheaval with broken crockery everywhere and I wanted the ground to swallow me up,” said Aoibhinn.
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