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Dr Scott Miller Q & A.
Pedigree UK Website - September 7th 2006

Ask Vet Dr Scott Miller

Q.1 Why is it important to look after my dogís teeth?

Answer - Your dogís teeth are as important as yours are, so keeping them clean on a daily basis not only makes sure that your dog is free from pain, but also keeping on top of the bacteria that can live along the gum line, and that can then cause problems with liver, kidneys and the heart, so keeping the teeth nice and clean means that your dog is kept very healthy.
See Video 1

Q.2 How do I know if my dog has bad teeth/gum disease?

Answer - Some dogs will be showing discomfort. Other dogs might have bad breath - and some might not show any signs at all, so itís up to you at home to be looking underneath the lip, checking their teeth and also checking their gums. If theyíre looking a little bit red, thatís gum disease and itís worth going and seeing your vet.
See Video 2

Q.3 My dog has bad breath; does that mean heís got gum disease?

Answer - Well, not necessarily. It could mean that youíre feeding him something that is making his breath smell. but certainly using some nice dog breath fresheners and also some toothpaste will make sure that heís go the nicest breath on the block.
See Video 3

Q.4 I canít brush my dogís teeth without him biting the toothbrush. What should I do?

Answer - Most dogs will chew almost anything you put in their mouth and a toothbrush is no exception. Consider using brushing on a ...... maybe two or three seconds - all you need to do - and then give him lots of attention, but if itís a real problem, I think a great idea is using a daily Pedigree Denta Stix
See Video 4

Q.5 Do puppies get problems with their teeth?

Answer - Puppies can get problems with their teeth, although luckily for them they actually lose the first set after about six months of age. It is important to train a puppy though to open their mouth to allow you to look at their teeth, so once they get onto those adult teeth you know you can keep them clean and keep them healthy.
See Video 5

Q.6 Will Denta Stix make my dog fat?

Answer - Well, if you just stick to one a day, which is recommended, then Denta Stix wonít be a problem in causing your dog to put on weight. Certainly if you are concerned about giving more than one treat, then maybe use a Denta Stix as opposed to the treats that youíre currently using for training your dog.
See Video 6

Q.7 How often should I clean my dogís teeth?

Answer - Itís important to clean your dogís teeth once a day. If itís important to keep your teeth clean daily, then it is for your canine companion. If youíre finding brushing difficult maybe try Pedigree Denta Stix.
See Video 7

Q.8 He eats dry food, isnít this enough to keep his teeth clean?

Answer - No it isnít. Any type of food will accumulate along the gum line, causing gum disease and tartar build-up, so itís very important that youíre keeping your dogís teeth clean daily.
See Video 8

Q.9 Dogs donít brush their teeth in the wild, why should I do it then?

Answer - Well, dogs in the wild eat prey, and they are full of bones, they chew through feather, they chew through skin, and as a result their teeth are kept nice and clean. Our dogs eat out of a bowl and that type of food accumulates along the gum line, causing a problem.
(This answer must make you wonder why they do not recommend natural food, rather than continue to market products which they know are causing health problems.)
See Video 9

Q.10 Are certain dogs more prone to teeth problems?

Answer - Small dogs and brachycephalical flat faced breeds do have more problems with their teeth, but thatís not to say that if you clean their teeth once a day, you shouldnít have a problem. If you are concerned about a small dogís teeth, then maybe you might want to consider a Pedigree Denta Stix, specifically designed for that size.
See Video 10

Q.11 How often should I get my dogs teeth checked by the vets?

Answer - Your vet will obviously check them once a year, whenever you go in to get a vaccination done. Itís also important that you are checking them every day at home. If youíre interested in a free dental check at your local vet practice, then click on the link to Pet Smile month for more detail.
See Video 11

Q.12 What are the consequences of gum disease?

Answer - Well, it might cause your dog discomfort, it certainly might lead to some tooth loss and also some bad breath, but more importantly thereís some very nasty bacteria along the gum line, which can feed infection in, not only to the heart, but liver and kidneys as well, so itís exceedingly important to make sure that your dog has good dental health.
See Video 12

Q.13 Would you give your dog a Denta Stix. Would you recommend Denta Stix.

Answer - Yes I would. Betty, my Border Terrier, absolutely loves them - but the great thing about them is that you can use them as a treat to train your dog and even more importantly is that they will actually prevent tartar build-up, when used daily, a very good treat to use.
See Video 13

Q.14 How do I brush my dogís teeth?

Answer - Well, itís very similar to the way you brush your own teeth at home (now demonstrating with a flat model of a set of teeth). Certainly you need to get the equipment that youíll need, so maybe like a little finger brush like this, or possibly a specifically designed dog toothbrush, and what youíre going to be doing is just lifting up the lip, and then doing nice circular round motions on the teeth, so itís lifting away all those food particles from the food the dogís eaten during the day - itís a very simple process and obviously, as always, prevention is better than cure.
See Video 14

Q.15 Is it too late to start brushing an older dogís teeth?

Answer - Older dogís teeth are just as important as younger dogs and if you havenít started brushing yet, certainly get to it, the dog may not like it being done, because they havenít been trained from a puppy. They may not like the sensation of brushing or the toothpaste taste, so you may have a struggle. As a result, a lot of dogs then go into the veterinary clinic and need to be anaesthetised, and the older a dog gets, the more risky these procedures become, so it would actually be best if you prevent better than cure, and the best way to prevent is by using Pedigree daily Dental Stix.
See Video 15

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