Dogs and cats need to chew for prolonged periods to clean their teeth properly.
Dogs and cats need to chew for prolonged periods to clean their teeth properly. Claudia Baxter

Fanging out on bones helps keep a smile on Fido's dial

DENTAL disease is rife among pets, with a vet estimating eight out of 10 of animals seen in the surgery need treatment for their teeth.

Candice Loft, from Hervey Bay Veterinary Surgery, said cats and dogs were similar to people in that their teeth were also affected by plaque and decay.

Without the right care, they get gum disease and can be in a lot of pain, she said.

The Hervey Bay Veterinary Clinic does free dental checks for pets.

Ms Loft said too much soft food and not enough large marrow bones or hard food could have a negative impact on an animal's teeth.

Even feeding pets chicken necks or other similar foods would not make much of a difference, she said, because dogs and cats both needed to chew for prolonged periods, up to about 15 to 20 minutes, in order to properly clean their teeth.

"Crunching actually helps clean dogs' teeth," Ms Loft said.

"Dental disease is quite painful for dogs.

When the gums are affected, they get a constant ache in their mouths, she said.

When a dog's teeth are not cleaned for long enough, the plaque hardens and calcifies.

That's when intervention was needed from a vet, Ms Loft said.

Owners are advised by some clinics to have their animal's teeth cleaned every six months, she said.

Smaller dogs, which tend to be fed soft food, are prone to dental disease, Ms Loft said.


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