Research: Gum disease rife in Kiwi dogs
Have you ever brushed your dog's teeth? If not, perhaps you should start.
Research shows that 80 per cent of Kiwi dogs over the age of three have developed gum disease which can lead to tooth loss, abscesses and bone infection.
However, a recent Pedigree Dentastix survey says 61 per cent of dog owners admitted to not brushing their dog's teeth at all, with 55 per cent saying they did not realise they needed to and 15 per cent claiming their "dog didn't like it".
July is Doggie Dental Month and local vets are encouraging dog owners to take responsibility for their pet's oral health.
Stoke Veterinary Clinic director Joyce Ballance said she wanted people to understand that keeping your dog's teeth healthy is part of looking after their general health.
Dog breath was a clear sign that something inside a dog's mouth was not quite right and could require attention, Ms Ballance said.
"Many owners will accept the unpleasant odour as being normal, whereas it is a sure sign that harmful bacteria are active in the mouth.
"Other symptoms that owners should be on the lookout for that indicate there is a problem are red and sore gums, and a reluctance to eat certain foods."
Todd Halsey, of Halifax Veterinary Centre, said brushing dog's teeth is considered the gold standard for maintaining good oral health in dogs.
"Most pet owners are oblivious to their pets oral health issues because pets don't complain. The desire to eat is very strong and most pets will put up with oral pain despite its long-term presence," Dr Halsey said.
Ms Ballance said a full dental work up required an anesthetic to put the dog to sleep, so it was preferable that people took regular care of their dog's mouth.
Using a toothbrush was one option.
"There's dog toothpaste around, which is designed for them and doesn't require them to rinse and spit."
Other options included a variety of chews or dog biscuits which were designed to help clean their teeth, she said. "Bones can be good as well but you have to be careful, you can run into problems with some types of bones."
More than 200 vets across the country, including the Stoke and Halifax veterinary clinics are offering free doggie dental checkups with a practice nurse this month. The checkup will identify any underlying problems.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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