44 Rankeilor Street
Dunedin South, New Zealand, 9012
Phone: 03 456 2345
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Last month we looked at senior pets, and how aging can affect the body. Dental disease and decay is something that can progress as we age. Like most things in life, prevention is better that cure. Sadly we often see pets when the disease is quite advanced however early intervention can make a huge difference to the health and well-being of your pet. Sometimes pets will “hide” a painful tooth by eating on other side of its mouth until it is very far advanced or the first an owner may know is when an abscess bursts through the skin.

Let’s be honest looking in your pets mouth is not something most owners do routinely but it can be quite easy to simply “flip the lip!”

1/ Look at your pets mouths when they are resting. How do the teeth look? Is there any discolouration? Do their gums look a nice pink colour or are they red and inflamed? What about their breath – normal dog breath or “oh my gosh, that is awful!!!”

2/ Now look slightly further back towards their molars. Often times the large canines and incisors at the front can look good whilst the molars have a lot of tartar build-up and undermining of the gum margins.

Have your pets examined yearly (for example at vaccination time) or ideally twice a year … remembering our pets age faster than we do. Veterinarians are trained to recognise early signs of disease and decay and can advise you on home care and possible treatment.

Dental disease can start from as early as 2 years, so start “flipping the lip” and help you furry friend keep their pearly whites for as long as possible! Speak to our team about dental disease and what to look for.


An older dog with significant dental issues, such as severe tartar build-up, gingivitis and of course halitosis. The good news her teeth were stable underneath, and following a full scale and polish she felt years younger!


Ten month old pup with "new" pearly whites!

Contents of this newsletter

01  Well done team

02  More Congratulations

03  Don't turn away from bad breath

04  The ins and outs of a dental procedure

05  Dental care at home

06  OMG! My dog has warts

07  Free Dental Toy

01 Well done team

 We are pleased to announce that our veterinary nurses Lisa, Lottie, Sara, Victoria and Krystle have completed their Certification in Low Stress Handling of Cats and Dogs. This course consisted of  ten modules and was set up by the renowned veterinarian and behaviourist Dr Sophia Yin. The vets are on board and are now working through the course. Humanimals is committed to providing you and your pets the best possible experience when visiting the clinic.



02 More Congratulations
Dr Alison Myers Veterinarian

DR Alison Myers BVSc &MVM

 Please join us in congratulating Dr Alison Myers on completion of her Masters in Veterinary Medicine through Massey University. Alison's study on tear production in dogs has passed as her keystone paper for her MVM. A Master’s Degree undertaken whilst working, and raising a family is a great achievement, taking a number of years to complete. We are all very proud of Alison's success and appreciate her commitment to continuing education.


03 Don't turn away from bad breath

Does your pet have dreaded doggy breath? Don’t turn away as bad breath can kill. Bad breath is generally caused by dental disease, a sneaky condition that likes to hide in your pet's mouth. Up to 80% of our pets might be suffering from this nasty disease and it is one of the most common problems we come across.

If your pet isn’t having to work very hard to chew their food, plaque and tartar build up around the teeth leading to irritation of the gum and an inflammatory condition called gingivitis. Eventually the gum separates from the tooth allowing small pockets of bacteria to accumulate. This bacteria can travel around your pet’s body, affecting the overall health of your pet.

You should not ignore this disease as it is very painful and can impact the kidneys, heart and liver. 

Signs of dental disease might include:

• Bad breath (also known as 'doggy breath')
• Drooling from the mouth or poking the tongue out
• Bleeding from the mouth
• A loss of appetite or weight loss

Sometimes the signs are subtle and you may not notice anything at all. This is just another reason why regular check ups with us are important as during a routine examination we will always examine your pet's mouth.

If we diagnose dental disease early enough, we can implement a dental disease treatment plan and prevent further damage to your pet's teeth, giving you and your pet something to smile about!

04 The ins and outs of a dental procedure

A general anaesthetic is required to clean your pet's teeth correctly


You'll be more inclined to kiss your pet if they have a healthy mouth!

If we have diagnosed your pet with dental disease we will most likely recommend dental clean.This is a very common procedure and is essential in treating dental disease. If your pet is having a dental procedure there’s a few things you need to know:

A general anaesthetic is required

We can't ask our pets to say “open wide" while we have a look around. To make sure we are able to clean all the teeth and do it safely (we don’t want to be bitten!), a general anaesthetic is required. Your pet must be anaesthetised so we can properly examine the entire tooth. This includes the inner surface and all of the teeth right up the back to the mouth that you can’t see when your pet is awake. 

We use very similar equipment to human dentists

In some cases this is the exact same equipment! 
A scaling device is used to remove any plaque that is stuck to the teeth and the teeth are individually polished. We may recommend x-rays so we can assess the bony structures around the tooth. This provides your pet with gold standard dental care.

Extractions may be necessary

In some cases, bacteria may have already damaged the structures of the tooth, exposing roots and nerves. This is painful so it is best we remove any diseased teeth. A fractured tooth may also require extraction. Antibiotics, pain relief and a diet of soft and chunky food may be needed until the extraction sites have healed.

As involved as it may sound, a dental procedure will ensure your pet is happier, healthier and most importantly, pain free.

We are always happy to answer any questions you have about your pet's dental procedure. 

05 Dental care at home

This is a very common question and thankfully we have lots of tools up our sleeve.

Here’s our top tips:

Get your pet chewing!

Every mouthful your pet takes should be hard work! Think of what our pets would eat in the wild – chewy, sinewy food that requires ripping, tearing and crunching. This is the natural way and best way to clean the teeth.

We have excellent dry food diets available that are actually designed to clean the tooth as your pet chews. We can also advise you on the best chews and treats available when it comes to dental care. Not every chew on the market is entirely safe for your pet so it’s best to ask us for the guidance.

Brush those pearly whites

Believe it or not, this is considered gold standard in home care. We have tooth brushes that enable you to get into the hard to reach places. We are also happy to demonstrate brushing with your pet. Keep in mind that it can take a few months for your pet to get used to the idea. Daily brushing is recommended (in an ideal world) however a couple of times a week is better than no brushing at all! If you are using a dental paste make sure it is safe for pets (human toothpaste is toxic)  You can watch this video for more information.

06 OMG! My dog has warts

A wart on the tongue of a dog

Did you know that your dog can return home from the park with more than just a wagging tail...? Your dog can catch warts! There’s no need to worry but it’s best to read on for all the information.

Warts are caused by the oral papilloma virus. The virus is spread through direct contact with an infected dog or via contact with a shared ball, water bowl or frisbee. The virus enters through a break in the skin and in a couple of months, warts can pop up on the lips, gums, tongue and roof of the mouth or in the throat. In some cases the warts end up growing on top of one another creating cauliflower like lesions (yuk!).

Dogs with an immature immune system (generally under two years of age), are most likely to be infected, but the virus can occasionally affect older dogs (often those with compromised immune systems. 

The good news is that most warts will disappear without any treatment. In some cases they can bleed or become infected and may require a course of antibiotics. Occasionally, warts can interfere with chewing or swallowing and require surgical removal. Very rarely they may develop into cancerous growths.

Warts tend to look worse than they actually are and once your dog has immunity against the virus, it is unlikely that he will succumb to infection again.

If you ever notice anything unusual in your pet’s mouth we recommend an examination with us.

07 Free Dental Toy