STINKY pet breath is something you might take for granted but it probably means your best friend needs you to check out his or her chompers.
Bad breath is a major symptom of dental disease in pets.
If your pet suffers from it and is three years or older, chances are they have some form of dental disease.
According to Australia's leading group of veterinarians, Greencross Vets, fewer than five per cent of Australian pet owners have taken their pet for a much-needed dental check-up.
"A common myth is that every pet will have smelly breath," Silkstone vet director Dr Tony Snell said.
"Just like people, pets need to have regular check-ups to help prevent dental diseases but also identify symptoms of much more serious problems such as viruses, tumours and even diabetes."
He said smaller breeds of dogs such as terriers, poodles and malteses were most susceptible to dental problems.
"After we treat a pet for dental disease the majority of pet owners notice their pets become a lot more active and happy," he said.
"This is largely due to relieving them of the pain and discomfort commonly associated with the many dental issues.
"The smell in the mouth comes from bacterial build up that can lead to other conditions such as kidney, heart, and gastrointestinal problems, so it's very important owners are proactive in pet dental care."
Other signs of dental disease can include discoloured teeth, loose teeth, excessive drooling, inflamed gums, chattering teeth and difficulty chewing food.
Left untreated the signs can lead to pain for pets, and quite often expensive dental procedures.
To encourage pet owners to take dental disease prevention seriously, Greencross Vets is offering complimentary dental checks in July and August.
The tooth truth
- Brush your pets' teeth once a day with an appropriate-sized toothbrush and pet toothpaste.
- Feed them firm foods and stay away from soft foods
- Include dental treats in their meals.
- Check their teeth and smell their breath regularly.