Taking care of your dog’s teeth is much more than getting fresh breath and beautiful kisses from your dog, (although those are really cute) it can actually be a matter of life and death. And before you say “why so intense?” with a scrunched up face, you might want to know a few things.
80% of dogs usually come down with periodontal diseases by the time they get to age 3. This disease often causes the common halitosis (or bad breath), loss of teeth and pains while chewing. Now, that’s a good case scenario. The worst that can happen is that the bacteria leave the teeth and gum area and actually travel down to the liver, kidneys or even the heart where they go on to cause really grave health conditions in your dog. We don’t need to tell you that this could lead to death in very severe cases.
Normally, as a pet parent, you take your pooch to the vet for checkups, and normally, the vet should check his teeth in addition to other parts he might be checking (if they don’t, please request that they do). As part of your pet’s dental check-up, your dog should get his teeth cleaned professionally too. This will help to clear away tartar ad plaque plus it gives the vet the chance to check out the overall health of your pet’s mouth. If you’re regular with your at-home dental hygiene though, you could reduce the number of professional dental cleaning for your dog. But don’t get it twisted, your pooch should have his teeth professionally cleaned at least once in a year no matter how healthy his teeth are or how regular you are with cleaning his teeth.
So, in the light of the severity of periodontal disease, we will go ahead to furnish you with top reasons you must keep your dog’s oral health in top form, plus tips for dog dental care that will leave your dog’s pearly whites pearly white.
Importance of Dog Dental Care
- It reduces halitosis: If your dog’s breath is perpetually bad, then you might have a case of the periodontal disease in your hands. Regular dog dental care will help to avoid or at least reduce the rate at which his breath stinks.
- Oral hygiene impacts on the entire system of your dog: We’ve already explained how periodontal disease impacts on the overall health of your dog. If any part of your dog’s body gets inflamed (like the teeth), it could affect his internal organs negatively.
- Research has proven that with good oral hygiene, your dog can live a longer, healthier life!
- Improved dog behavior: Taking out a painful tooth will greatly improve your dog and turn him from a moody, depressed dog to a happy playful dog in no time. If you’ve ever had tooth decay before and then removed the affected tooth, you should be able to relate.
- Dental exams aren’t restricted to the teeth: When running a dental exam, vets do more than just check the teeth; they also give a comprehensive inspection of other features which include the head, face, and neck, as well as other soft tissues. So, in checking your teeth, your vet can also pick up on any other related health issues that you might not have noticed.
- In an oral exam, a vet will be able to identify dental problems that could cause pain for your dogs such as broken teeth or oral tumors.
- Oral examination procedures such as x-rays and dental probing help vets to catch other diseases, especially in middle-aged to older pets. Dogs of this age need professional scaling periodically as well as plaque control too.
Thankfully, dogs aren’t as prone to tooth cavities like their owners, but the fact still remains that they are prone to tooth cavities. And as we have seen repeatedly in preceding paragraphs, the best way to cure periodontal disease is to avoid it in the first place.
Now, without further ado, here are tips to maintaining impeccable oral hygiene for your pooch:
Feed them properly: It is scientifically proven that you can help to maintain your pet’s oral hygiene by feeding them the right diet. There are certain dog biscuits that are configured to give a brushing effect when chewed, and consequently take out tartar and plaque in their wake as well.
Plaque Off/Dentafresh: These are two dog oral products that dog parents must simply have. They work in two fantastic ways. One, they help to reduce the bacterial load in your dog’s mouth which ultimately helps to deal with bad breath. Also, they help to break down plaque buildup, thereby softening them for easy brushing away either with a dog toothbrush or dog chew.
Dog Chews and Bones: Dogs love to chew and this must be encouraged. Why? It improves the flow of saliva which contains enzymes that help to fight destructive bacteria.
Raw bones are also very helpful, except your dog has a medical condition that prohibits the inclusion of raw bones in his diet.
If you use cut bones, you run the risk of fracturing your dog’s teeth, so it might be best to go with un-cut bones. Also, to prevent accidental swallowing, always ensure that the bone you give to your dog is larger than his head.
Brush his teeth: whether he likes it or not; he’ll gradually come to like it if you play your cards right anyway. Even after brushing or even scaling, plaque begins to accumulate within 12 hours. See why you have to brush his teeth regularly? When it comes to maintaining your pet’s oral health, brushing is the gold standard.
You can get different kinds of dental brushes and paste in the market. In fact, many of them come in a kit containing a finger cloth as well. Pet toothbrushes are usually designed with a double head design to cater to their teeth effectively. Also, please note that you cannot use your toothpaste for your pet cos it contains fluoride which is toxic to dogs (and cats as well). You need to get a pet-specific paste.
It’s okay if your dog only allows you brush one-half of his teeth per time, just let him dictate the pace. If you throw in a treat after a brushing session, he may gradually come to love it and even expect it. Also, please note that if you’ve got a small breed like a Chihuahua or a Yorkie, then brushing daily is mandatory because these ones easily catch dental diseases when compared to larger breeds. Larger breeds can get by with brushing every other day.
Finally, however good you are at maintaining your dog’s oral hygiene, you must check his teeth regularly (once a week is great) for signs of dental problems. Also, you should call your vet if you notice any of the following:
- Bad breath
- Pawing at the mouth or at the face
- Drooling excessively
- Missing, discolored, crooked or broken teeth
- Tartar on the gum (usually yellowish-brown in color)
- Painful, swollen, red, or bleeding gums
- Growths (or bumps) in the mouth
- A change in chewing or eating habits
Now, that’s how you get cute k9 kisses and bow wow fresh breath from your pooch! Thank us later!