Content provided by Hill’s Pet Nutrition
We all know how important dental health is for our own teeth. We go to the dentist regularly and brush and floss our teeth twice a day. But did you know that dental health is important for your pet as well?
What causes dental disease in dogs and cats?
The underlying cause of dental disease is plaque. Plaque is that furry film you feel on your teeth in the morning. It is a mix of saliva, bacteria and tiny food particles that sticks to your teeth especially at the gum line. If not removed, it can mix with minerals in saliva to cause tartar and the bacteria can cause gingivitis (pain and inflammation of the gums).
So how do I keep my dog or cat’s teeth clean?
Dental care is a two-step process that involves both professional and at home care. Your vet is your pet’s dentist - so regular assessment and teeth cleaning by your veterinarian are important. However, like us, dental care doesn’t stop there. Pets need daily home dental care to keep their teeth clean between visits to the vet. One option is to brush their teeth daily, however, our pets are not always cooperative and this can be difficult. That’s why feeding specialised dental foods can be a good alternative.
There are so many dental diets and treats available, how do I know which one to choose?
The key to controlling dental disease is to control plaque, and this is something that not all dental foods and treats do. One thing to look for is the VOHC seal on the pack. This shows that the product has clinical studies which have been examined by a group of veterinary experts. Hill’s dental foods (Prescription Diet t/d and Science Diet Oral Care) have been awarded the VOHC seal for the control of plaque and tartar for both dogs and cats.
Caring for your pet's teeth with nutrition
How do Hill’s Dental Diets Work?
Most dry kibble shatters and crumbles in the mouth when the tooth comes into contact with the food.
Hill’s dental foods have an innovative kibble designed to work like a toothbrush as pets eat. This diagram shows how they work. The unique combination of kibble size, shape and interlocking fibre technology allows the tooth to penetrate deeply into the kibble before it breaks. The kibble gently scrubs the tooth surface to clean teeth as the pet eats.
What is the difference between the Science Diet Oral Care and Prescription Diet t/d?
There are differences in size and density between the kibbles that affects the level of reduction of plaque, tartar and stain. Science Diet Oral Care is for healthy pets to improve dental health. Prescription Diet t/d is for pets with signs of dental disease and should be used on the recommendation of your veterinarian
Can I feed Hill’s Dental Diets long-term?
Hill’s dental foods are complete and balanced for adult dogs and cats. In addition to dental benefits, they contain a blend of omega-6 fatty acids and Vitamin E for a healthy skin and coat, and our clinically proven antioxidant blend to support a healthy immune system.
In summary, if you have a dog or cat over 2 years of age, then the chances are that they may have some degree of dental disease. Treat their teeth as you would your own. Book in to see your veterinarian for a dental check-up and feed your pet a VOHC Accepted dental food, so you know that they are cleaning their teeth every day as they eat.
Dr Jessica Mills BVSc (Hons I)
Professional Consulting Veterinarian
Hill’s Pet Nutrition
Jessica graduated as a veterinarian from the University of Sydney with honours in 1999. After graduation she spent 10 years working first in mixed, and then small animal practice at a number of clinics both in Australia and the UK. She moved into industry in 2009, initially immersed in the world of fleas and ticks at Merial Australia and more recently enjoying utilising her skills in the field of nutrition as a Professional Consulting Veterinarian for Hill’s Pet Nutrition.