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Pet Dental Care

Gingivitis and Periodontal (Gum) Disease

At about 6 months of age most cats and dogs have a perfect set of beautiful pearly white teeth set in pristine clean pink gums. Unfortunately, from then on, tooth decay can become a problem.

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with treatment.

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue surrounding the teeth that takes hold in progressive stages. The first stage is the accumulation of a bacterial film called plaque. The bacteria attach to the teeth. The plaque gradually hardens into “tartar” or “calculus” by reacting with minerals in the saliva. Tartar is very firmly attached to the teeth both above and below the gum line and can’t be removed by brushing. The tartar acts as a reservoir for destructive bacteria and causes physical irritation to the gums which respond by receding – eventually exposing the roots of the teeth.

The final stage in the process of periodontal disease is when the bacteria invade and break down the support structures of the teeth; the ligaments and alveolar bone that hold the teeth in the jaw.

Four key ways to assist good pet dental care:

Dental checkup (to begin with a clean bill of health) & then 6-12 months checks
Provide a quality nutritious diet
Dental Chew Bones/Treats
Regular brushing at home with toothpaste (never use human toothpaste)

Dental Check Up

Dental care in dogs and cats is one of the most commonly overlooked areas of pet health care by owners. Dental disease doesn’t affect just the mouth; it can lead to more serious health problems including heart, lung and kidney disease.

Whenever your cat or dog is examined at Canterbury Vets, one of the key areas we check is their teeth. Our clients are often quite surprised to be shown what is going on in their pet’s mouth! The longer plaque and tartar are on teeth, the more harmful they become.

When tartar buildup becomes severe or when gingivitis develops, your pet will need a visit to the dentist. Fortunately, at Canterbury Vets we not only have excellent dental facilities, but also the training and experience to do a first-class job
We recommend a yearly check-up for younger dogs and cats, and twice-yearly check-ups for our older pets, and one of the key areas we examine and advise on during these checks is dental health.


One of the most convenient and effective ways to combat plaque and tartar build up is feeding a specially formulated foods such as Hills t/d is a special tough fibrous biscuit that has been shown to reduce both plaque and tartar. It is available in 3 sizes; for cats, small dogs and larger dogs. It’s very palatable, and a good nutritious food that is also high in fibre and quite low in calorie content. For most people Hills t/d is the practical way to keep their pets’ teeth healthy. It can be fed every day, but also has a beneficial effect when fed as 2-3 meals per week.

Dental Chews

Any chewing activity is generally helpful for your pet’s teeth and gums, we sell “Greenies” / “Nutrident” which are effective on plaque and tarter; and are a good alternative if your pet is not keen on Hills t/d or other dental food.

Brushing / Oral Hygiene Wash

Daily brushing has been proven to reduce plaque build-up and the cascade of events that follow. Our clinics sell special brushes and pastes that make brushing easier, although any soft brush will do the job. It is only necessary to brush the outer surface of the teeth; gently lift the lip out of the way and brush in a circular motion.

Oral Hygiene Rinse for pets is also an option we stock to help fight plague and main oral health while offering fresh breath fast.

small animal surgery teeth
dental products
Dog chews
Cat photo1 (with Amber)sm