Would you like your clients to have a better understanding of their pets’ dental care requirements? Finding that spoken advice is just not sinking in? Many owners are keen to do the best for their pets, and many more are keen to save money. Counterintuitively, teaching clients about dental disease and prevention is a challenge.
We have created a single, descriptive video Pet Dental Care at Home and the Vets, covering all aspects of pet dental health and prevention, then split the video into three component parts.
A Sore Topic
Dental disease is one of the top three welfare-affecting diseases in dogs, undoubtedly a contributory factor in some of the main causes of death in rabbits, and one of the most prevalent disorders diagnosed in first opinion practice in cats.
This largely preventable condition is such a common source of agony and ill health for our patients.
I think we can all recognise that passing on the message of preventative dental care is not easy. Some days it is met with considerable resistance. The look of down-the-nose doubt as you suggest daily brushing. Or the suspicion of dollar signs rotating in your eyes as you point out accumulating tartar.
As clinicians, we know the dangers, can we all honestly say we brush our cats’ and dogs’ teeth as often as our own?
We must extend our understanding – lives are busy. Naturally, immediate issues hit the top of the priority list on a day-to-day basis. Not the ones that might happen in the future. Our duty, in the name of animal welfare, is to find new ways to inspire clients to listen. Our videos takes owners, through why dental disease is a problem.
The Role of Routine Health Checks
Animal welfare is the priority, the bulk of us are indeed in this for the greater good. But we can’t help any animals without viable businesses. For many first opinion practices, surgical dental cases are a significant proportion of income. Luckily, preventative care is a sound alternative – regular clients, healthy pets, repeat business. The income gap is soon filled. Our video explains to your clients the vital role of regular veterinary examination in preventing suffering from dental disease.
The Time Conundrum
In the short time available during a consultation, it’s common to pick up on dental disease but have little opportunity to discuss it in any depth. It’s often not the presenting problem, and there’s a lot to discuss! With practices understaffed and fully stretched, practical clinics on how to examine and brush teeth at home may not be possible. Whilst our videos point clients towards their vet and nursing team for this advice, they all include some useful hints to get preventative care underway. This introduces some of the topics, frees up time, and facilitates further in-consult discussion.
These video also highlight the at-home care tips for rabbits, and common early signs of dental disease in this species.
As always with your waiting room TV, delivering advice in a visual format can help introduce new understanding, and re-approach much-discussed topics, in a palatable and clear way.
Some days it does seem surprising that an expensive-to-resolve, largely preventable disease that is so damaging to animal welfare is not a thing of the past. This video helps revisit the grassroots of this problem and encourages clients in the right direction from early in their pets’ lives.
Introducing the thousands of new pet owners to the concept of preventative care, while their bunnies, beagles and Burmese are still young, is an excellent way to help those pets avoid future discomfort. And any new way to communicate the old message is worth a try with those ‘come for their six-monthly health checks like clockwork, but seldom take your advice‘ clients!