IF your dog's bark is worse than its bite you may want to get its teeth checked.
Dogs get dental decay and cats get cavities.
No we're not barking mad - just keen to stop the rot, vet Danielle Dunn said yesterday.
The Gladstone Veterinary Clinic doctor said pet owners needed to paws for thought and get their teeth checked.
And yes, it's a bit ruff going to the doggy dentist, but skimping on teeth could cost more in the long run, do some serious damage and cause quite a stink.
Dr Dunn said she had extracted 20 teeth from one dog. Pooches have 42 teeth and cats have 30.
She said the surgery saw at least one case of dental decay a week.
August to September is the Australian Veterinary Association's Pet Dental Season and that means free animal teeth checks are available at vets across the region.
Dr Dunn said around four out of five dogs and cats over the age of three have some sort of dental disease.
"Pets often won't show pain," she said.
"Even pets with sore gums, infected mouths and broken teeth will continue to eat so owners may not see any problems.
"About 80 per cent of adult animals have some degree of dental disease, which becomes more severe with age."
She said signs of dental disease included bad breath, red gums and stained teeth.
"Dogs and cats age much more quickly than humans, and it's important to catch problems early if you want to ensure a long and happy life for your companion animal," Dr Dunn said.
Dr Dunn said cats and dogs could be trained to have their teeth brushed.
She said giving them bones as teeth cleaners could lead to health problems.