Don’t brush off Battersea’s advice – keep pets’ teeth in check

09 FEBRUARY 2017

Dentists recommend humans visit their dentist twice a year, but many animals that come into Battersea Dogs & Cats Home brush off this advice. 

On Thursday 9 February 2017, it’s National Toothache Day in the UK, and one of the most common procedures Battersea’s Veterinary team carry out in the clinic is dental work. 

In 2016, staff in the charity’s vet hospital performed dental procedures on more than 1,800 animals in the new double dental suite on site, a 13% increase on the number of animals who had dental procedures in 2015. The new facilities make it easier to schedule in dentals at the same time, so that dogs and cats can get the treatment they need more quickly. Any dental procedures are always performed under general anaesthetic and include a clean and polish to remove tartar, and if required, extractions. 

Molly the Shih Tzu
Molly is an elderly 14-year-old Shih Tzu who came into Battersea with tooth decay. It’s clear that Molly’s teeth had never really been looked after and due to her age, the condition of her teeth has slowly declined over the years. The vets were required to extract some of Molly’s teeth so that she could be a much happier dog without painful teeth. 

It’s important to look after your pet’s teeth as this can help to prevent gum diseases. 

There’s many approved diets and chews that can keep your dog or cat’s teeth in check. Mildly abrasive dog chews are a good way of removing tooth plaque. For cats, there are dental chews and chew toys available which can help. A healthy balanced diet can also help prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar. 

Teeth brushing is one of the ways to keep gums and teeth healthy. Always speak to a vet for the best way to proceed before starting this as not all pets like being handled around their mouth. 
Shaun Opperman, the Veterinary Director at Battersea, advises: “Regular dental check-ups at your own private vet is the best way to help keep your animal’s teeth healthy. If there are any concerns about a pet’s dental health, always consult your own vet. If you are going to brush your pet’s teeth - never use human toothpaste as fluoride is poisonous to dogs.”


Notes to editors 

  • Toothache Day is on Thursday 9 February 2017. 
  • Established in 1860, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home aims never to turn away a dog or cat in need of our help, caring for them until their owners or loving new homes can be found, no matter how long it takes. We are champions for, and supporters of, vulnerable dogs and cats, determined to create lasting changes for animals in our society.  
  • Since it was founded, Battersea has rescued, reunited and rehomed over 3.1 million dogs and cats. 
  • In 2015 the Home cared for over 8000 dogs and cats. 
  • Battersea cares for an average of 260 dogs and 220 cats across its three centres at any one time. 
  • There is no time limit on how long an animal can stay at the charity but the average stay for a dog is 30 days and 22 days for a cat.
  • In addition to the site in South West London, the Home also has two other centres based at Old Windsor, Berkshire and Brands Hatch, Kent. 
  • Battersea Dogs & Cats Home rehomes dogs and cats all over the UK. 
  • Battersea Dogs & Cats Home receives no central government funding towards the care of its dogs and cats and relies on the generosity and support of the public to help care for lost and abandoned dogs & cats. To make a donation visit our website or call 0207 627 7883. 
  • For further information on Battersea Dogs & Cats Home please visit 
  • Follow Battersea on Twitter @BDCH or