Prada is my faithful friend, patient and model in photo shoots and workshops on animals dental hygiene. As her veterinarian I take care of her teeth since she was a small puppy - maybe that’s why she can be proud of her white and healthy smile. We decided that we will prepare DentalVet Q&A for you, so the set of most usual questions I’ve heard during my veterinary dentist practice. Our conversations are full with humour, because we want you to approach the topic of introducing pet oral hygiene calmly and without any sign of panic. Let’s make this daily routine a pleasure for both sides and deepen the bond you have with your pet darlings!


 

First dental check-up When and why so early?

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First dental procedure How to prepare?

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Do cats should brush their teeth as well?

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Jak prawidłowo szczotkować zęby psa/kota?

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Jak często zwierzaki powinny przychodzić na kontrolę stomatologiczną?

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Co się stanie, jeśli zwierzak nie będzie dbał o zęby?

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Pierwsza kontrola stomatologiczna

 

Prada:

Doctor, when puppies and kittens should get their first dental check-up?

 

Dr Wąs:

The best moment is when they are 5 or 6 week old.

 

Prada:

So early?

 

Dr Wąs:

Of course! The 5th and 6th weeks is an important time, because of the vaccinations (what every pet guardian should remember!) but also because then kittens and puppies are ready to smile with their full set of milk teeth. During this first appointment I will show the guardian, how to make the young citizen get used to brushing his or her teeth, so that later nothing we will do with their teeth would surprise them.

 

Prada:

When should we schedule the next appointment?

 

Dr Wąs:

When the pet is 5-6 months old it would be worth to come again, so that I could check how the process of replacing the milk teeth with the permanent ones goes. And by the way, I would show the guardian how should the proper teeth brushing look like, because from the moment the pet gets its set of permanent teeth, brushing teeth should become an everyday routine.

 

Prada:

Thank you for all the wisdom!

 

Dr Wąs:         

Be my guest :)

 

 

 

PRZYBLIŻONY WIEK WYRZYNANIA SIĘ ZĘBÓW

 

Zęby mleczne

Zęby stałe

 

Pies

Kot

Pies

Kot

Siekacze

4-6 tydz.

3-4 tydz.

3-4 mies.

3-4 mies.

Kły

3-5 tydz.

3-4 tydz.

3-4 mies.

3-5 mies.

Przedtrzonowce

5-6 tydz.

5-6 tydz

4-5 mies.

4-5 mies.

Trzonowce

-

-

4-6 mies.

4-6 mies.

 

 

First dental procedure How to prepare?

 

Prada:            

Hausier Doctor, I have to admit, that I haven’t brushed my teeth like a good puppy should. I’m afraid that there is plaque on my teeth! Could we probably schedule an appointment, so that I could get my beautiful, healthy smile back again?

 

Dr Wąs:                     

Well, dear Prada, before I perform any dental procedure, you have to schedule a dental consultation, so that we could verify your health. I would do a standard clinical check-up, while you are all conscious, which would focus especially on your mouth, I will draw blood and order an ECG with echocardiogram. If there were any alarming results, I would ask you to do more tests, so that we could exclude any risk of complications after the dental treatment.

 

Prada:

Draw blood? Sounds awful!

 

Dr Wąs:

Oh, be a good girl! I promise that I will be gentle and you won’t feel even a little bit! But remember that for drawing blood you should be on an empty stomach.

 

Prada:

What do you mean “empty stomach”?

 

Dr Wąs:

That means that you shouldn’t eat 8-10 hours before the examination. Otherwise, the results would not be reliable.

 

Prada:

I understand. What next?

 

Dr Wąs:

Jeśli wszystkie wyniki będą w normie możemy umówić się na zabieg stomatologiczny.

 

Prada:

Should I be “on empty stomach” again?

 

Dr Wąs:

You learn quickly! I’m so proud of you! Yes, you should be on empty stomach (no eating for 8-10 hours before!). Moreover, 2-3 hours before the appointment you should also limit drinking water. Because every dental treatment should be done in full general anaesthetic, you should take your favourite blanket with you. I will wrap you up in it after the treatment, and when you will be waking up, you would feel “like home”, without any unnecessary stress.

 

Prada:

Uff, I feel better already. Thank you for all the wisdom!

 

Dr Wąs:

Be my guest :)

Do cats should brush their teeth as well?

 

Prada:

Doctor, do cats should brush their teeth as well?

 

Dr Wąs:

Of course! Both cats and dogs should brush their teeth every day, no exceptions! Before they reach 6 months of age, all the kittens should already finish their teeth replacement, so the place of the delicate and thinner milk teeth is taken by permanent teeth. Then you should introduce the oral hygiene, because it’s easier for a young kitten to get used to it than for an adult, big cat. But well, to tell you the truth, brushing cats’ teeth is a little more troublesome than when it comes to dogs’ teeth.

 

Prada:

Why is that so?

 

Dr Wąs:

Cats have smaller jaws, so the reach to the teeth back in the mouth is not that easy. Besides, as you know from your own experience, some cats have rather... peculiar characters and it’s sometimes hard to overcome. But nothing is impossible! Appropriate approach of the guardian and systematic accustoming the cat to having its teeth cleaned work miracles. I myself know a few cats that gladly have their teeth brushed, because they associate this activity with something pleasant. The process of teeth brushing, both dogs’ and cats’, will be taken care of in: “How to brush cat’s/dog’s teeth properly”.

 

Prada:

Thank you for all the wisdom!

 

Dr Wąs:

Be my guest :)

 

How to brush cat’s/dog’s teeth properly??

 

Prada:

I can’t even imagine that any of my canine and feline friends would let anyone brush their teeth!

 

Dr Wąs:

Prada, believe me, most of the pet guardians think alike! Well, brushing teeth is a great challenge! But it’s the activity that is the guardian’s duty and it should be done every day, eventually 2-3 times a week (rather poor result, if you ask me). Unfortunately, in most of the cases it’s not. According to researches, 80% of the dogs and 70% of the cats over 3 years old have all the symptoms of oral diseases and 85% of dogs older than 5 years have some sort of periodontal disease. The adult ones are usually more stubborn and resistant to teaching them the new duty, so it’s best to start working on the habit with a puppy/kitten. I can show you the tested, tried and reliable methods, I’ve developed over the years, that would let any cat or dog in any age to get used to having teeth brushed.

 

Prada:

Oh sure, I wanna hear!

 

Dr Wąs:

#1 Massage your pet’s face

Before you even try to approach your dog or cat with a toothbrush, you have to first get it used to having its face touched and kept up more often. Dedicate some time to it every day and massage the chin, the nose, the jaw, the forehead, both temples and earlobes. Continue doing it for at least few minutes a day until your pet fully accepts your touch in these areas and feels safe and comfortable when you are doing it.

 

#2: Massage teeth and gums

When your snuggly furry friend tolerates stroking its face from the outside, it’s time to repeat the procedure and massage your pet’s mouth inside. Try to do it once a day for few minutes. Massage gums and teeth gently. You can do it with your fingers or with a cotton pad. In order to make this moment more pleasant, you can dip your finger/cotton pad in tuna water (cat) or a broth (dog), just as a form of encouragement and so that your pet associated this activity with positive emotions. After few - or sometimes even a dozen or so - sessions you should replace the tasty treats with animal toothpaste. Why massaging gums is so important? Because in most of cases, oral diseases begin with red, bleeding gums. Healthy gums are pink! Massaging them would make them stronger, speed up the healing process and would minimise the risk of any gum problems in the future.

 

##3: Choose toothbrushes and other dental accessories made for pets

In your animal clinic buy a special pet toothbrush (for cats the best are the small ones with round heads). You should absolutely buy pet toothpaste as well. You can choose from various tastes: chicken, liver and even shrimps! Never try to brush their teeth with human toothpaste, it’s toxic for our furry friends.

 

#4: Get your pet acquainted with the taste of the toothpaste

Your pet’s nose is the main way of discovering the world and deciding what is safe and what is not. Before shoving the toothbrush with the toothpaste in its mouth, let your pet smell them properly, so that it all felt comfortable and safe to your furry friend. If the sniffing test was passed, let it lick the toothpaste to accept the taste - usually it’s not a problem, because the pet toothpastes come with all the variety of tastes that pets usually love..

 

#5: Don’t stress the pet out - or yourself!

For the tooth brushing procedure, choose a safe and quiet place, don’t rush it, be gentle and delicate, we all want your pet to associate this with something pleasant. Try to repeat the whole activity at the same time of the day, evenings are the best, when the pet is usually calm and has low energy. Place it on your lap or on a table. Never, never force it into doing anything. If your pet doesn’t like having its mouth touched, just let it go. (Especially when it comes to cats - if your cat begins presenting all the aggressive body gestures, this is the moment when you should definitely stop). If it goes away, respect that and try again the next day..

 

#6: Brush your pet’s teeth every day!

Brushing teeth works best against dental and gum diseases if it’s done every day. There is a deeper point behind it, because if the pet gets used to having its teeth brushed every day, it would not need to remember the procedure after few days again and again and it would all be nicer and quicker. Just make it a pleasant routine for both you and your pet!

 

#7: Be patient!

Place your pet on your lap with its head at 45 degrees angle, never higher! You should begin the teeth brushing training with a cotton pad, wrapped around your finger, then gradually proceed to a special toothbrush placed on your finger. Then, when you pet has no problem with it, you can introduce the real toothbrush. Remember to always wet the toothbrush before applying the toothpaste and putting it in your pet’s mouth! Begin brushing from the outer, cheek side of the jaw, applying gentle round movements to remove all the food that is stuck in between the teeth and to remove the plaque.

Then try the inner, palate part. Here you can have some problems with round movement, but don’t become discouraged. Be sure that all the teeth were brushed properly. Remember that the process of getting your dog or cat used to having teeth brushed might take even few months! Just be patient. The healthy teeth of your pet will be the best reward.

 

#8: Reward your cat/dog for any progress and model behaviour

All pets love treats! They will happily do stuff if you train them that they will get treats as reward. It might be a treat, favourite food, chew toy or even a new toy.

 

#9: Do your vet check-ups regularly

At least once every six months visit your veterinarian for a check-up, during which your pet’s teeth and gums get checked. When it comes to small dogs (absolutely wrongly referred to as “toy breeds”), the frequency should be even higher, twice every six months. These breeds are more at risk for plaque and tartar build-up. Visiting an animal clinic is the best chance to spot and detect any periodontal diseases and curing them quickly.

 

#10: Don’t wait until it’s too late

Teeth and gum diseases result in chronic conditions of, for example, heart, kidneys and liver. Don’t wait if you don’t want for your friend to suffer in silence! Most of the pets do not show any signs of discomfort until the pain is really strong. Preventive care, regular check-ups and healthy diet will give your pet a healthy and long life. Following appropriate pet oral hygiene prolongs their life... for 20%! Isn’t it motivating enough to begin as soon as possible?

 

Prada:

Sure! It is! Thank you for all the wisdom! I have to run! I have to tell Kitty all about this! I think that she doesn’t even know what “brushing” means!

 

Dr. Wąs:

Kitty? I thought that you don’t get along... Have I missed something?

 

Prada:

Well, what can I say... Kitty turned out to be a super friend, I can rob with her many cupboards with treats inside! All because we have our sharp teeth! I think it’s worth so that Kitty took care of hers too, if we are going to capture more tasty strongholds!

 

Dr.Wąs:

Let’s say that I didn’t hear that ;)

How often should pets have a dental check-up?

 

Prada:

Doctor Wąs, how often should pets have a dental check-up?

 

Dr Wąs:

Well, if the guardian doesn’t see any alarming signs in his or her pet’s mouth, I recommend visiting an animal clinic twice a year. When it comes to small dogs (absolutely wrongly referred to as “toy breeds”), the frequency should be even higher, twice every six months. These breeds are more at risk for plaque and tartar build-up. Visiting an animal clinic is the best chance to spot and detect any possible dental diseases and curing them quickly.

 

Prada:

Thank you for all the wisdom!

 

Dr Wąs:         

Be my guest :)

 

 

 

What would happen if the pet would not have its teeth taken care of?

 

Prada:

Doctor, what would happen if the pet would not have its teeth taken care of?

 

Dr Wąs:

Oh Prada! Do you really want to know that?

 

Prada:

Of course! When I played with my friends in the park, I saw that not all dogs there have a nice, healthy smile. I want to know more to make them more aware!

 

Dr Wąs:

You really have a heart of gold, Prada. I’m so proud of you!

 

Prada:

It’s so nice to hear that! Maybe I will save one or two teeth of my furry friends? So... I’m listening!

 

Dr Wąs:

Well, to make it short: Without brushing teeth the plaque that gathers on the teeth surface turns into tartar, which leads to gum inflammation and then to periodontal diseases. From that moment it’s a really short way to having gum recession, teeth bone resorption, developing a root abscess, oro-nasal fistula and later even respiratory system, alimentary system, blood vascular system and urinary system diseases. Moreover, some researched proved that the patients with strong oral infection might develop bacteraemia while chewing, so to speak in more canine-feline words, infecting blood with bacteria. Advanced periodontitis leads to histopathological changes in kidneys, liver and heart muscle. I think that I covered all if it... Did you remember it?

 

Prada:

Sure! I have to go to the park to tell my friends about that! Maybe it’s not too late for their teeth! Thank you, Doctor!

 

Dr Wąs:

You’re welcome. Good luck!