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August is National Pet Dental Health Month

This August marks National Pet Dental Health Month, helping to highlight the importance of pet oral health for the happiness and wellbeing of our beloved four-legged friends. 

In Australia, dental disease is the most common health condition in pets, with as many as 70% – 80% of cats and dogs having developed some form of the disease during their lifetime [1]. To help raise greater awareness and encourage Australians to monitor symptoms of this condition, Petstock Vet Dr. Tara Morris shares her expert advice on how to keep your pet’s teeth and gums in tip-top shape.

How do I know if my pet has dental disease?

Dental disease, specifically periodontal disease, is a progressive condition affecting your pet's gums and surrounding bone. It develops in four stages, with the initial stage being the mildest and most easily treatable. 

Symptoms may include bad breath, plaque and tartar build-up on the teeth, loss of appetite, difficulty chewing, eating, or bleeding gums [2]. 

If left untreated, advanced stages of dental disease can lead to tooth loss, gum inflammation, and significant bone loss [3]. It's important to note that dental disease causes pain and discomfort at any stage. Seeking prompt veterinary advice and early treatment is crucial to prevent the condition from worsening.

Hygiene Tip #1: Start a brushing routine

Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly, preferably daily or at least weekly [4], is the most important way of helping to maintain their oral hygiene and prevent dental disease.

To clean your pet’s teeth, make sure you invest in specialised toothbrushes specially designed for animals and are less abrasive than human brushes. Pet-friendly toothpaste is also a must, as many human toothpastes contain xylitol — an artificial sweetener that is toxic to cats and dogs.

Other products that can be used to clean your pet’s teeth include dental wipes, mouth freshening water additives, and even fresh breath foam. If you’re thinking of incorporating these products into your pet’s dental routine but are unsure about which products to use, speak to your local vet or head to your local Petstock store for more personalised advice.

Hygiene Tip #2: Dental toys and treats

Not only are they delicious and fun to play with, dental toys and treats are an easy way of helping to maintain oral hygiene. 

A great option to consider for pet owners who are short on time, dental toys and treats can be given with minimal supervision, and are designed to help remove plaque and tartar as your pets play and chew.

Hygiene Tip #3: Consider a dental diet

Aside from dental treats, a pet’s overall diet can also play a role in keeping healthy oral hygiene. Pet owners can explore specially formulated dental kibble that aids in cleaning their pet's teeth as they eat, effectively reducing the formation of plaque and tartar.

Remember that any diet changes should be gradual and must always be conducted under the guidance of a pet professional. Consult your local vet before suddenly changing your pet’s diet to improve oral hygiene.

Hygiene Tip #4: Getting your pet’s teeth professionally cleaned

There’s only so much that home cleaning, dental treats and specialised kibble can do. Once tartar has set and formed throughout the stages of dental disease, it cannot easily be removed at home and thus professional cleaning is recommended

Like humans, it is advised for pets to receive a professional dental clean once every six months to prevent general build up. 

As professional dental cleaning is a procedure requiring anaesthesia and a prior dental check, be sure to speak to your local vet if you are considering this option.

Dental Health Facts

✔️ Dogs have 42 permanent teeth and cats have 30.

✔️ Rabbit teeth are open-rooted and continuously grow throughout their lives.

✔️ Aggressive chewing on hard objects is a primary cause of broken teeth in dogs like rocks.

✔️ Providing your pet with good dental hygiene can add 2-4 years to their life.

✔️ Pets don’t tell us when their teeth hurt, animals actually hide the signs of illness or weakness

Dr Tara’s top dental health product picks:

  • Tropiclean Fresh Breath Oral Care Kit RRP:$35.84
  • Tropiclean Fresh Breath Dental Wipes 50pk RRP:$29.40
  • Tropiclean Enticers Kong Dental Ball & Smoked Beef Brisket Gel RRP:$29.97 - $39.97
  • Greenies Regular Dental Chews For Medium Dogs Treats RRP:$35.98
  • Drool by Dr Chris Brown Cat Teeth + Breath Cat Treats 60g RRP:$11.98

For more information on how to care for your pet’s oral health, visit


[1] [3] Mäkinen, Annika & Munukka, 2019, pp. 275-276
[2] [4] RSPCA, 2022

About National Pet Dental Health Month 

This August, Petstock is celebrating National Pet Dental Health Month, raising awareness of dental disease and encouraging pet parents to play an active role in keeping their pet’s teeth and gums healthy. Throughout the month, Petstock is providing a range of dental product savings in-store and online. 

MEDIA RELEASE, 26th August 2023

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