Say so long and farewell to bad breath and poor dog dental health! Just like us, our pets need to have healthy dental habits. Teeth care is usually not a priority amongst dog parents and is something that is easily brushed aside because it just doesn’t seem like something that should be focused on. Well, we’re here to tell you that our dogs are just as prone to toothaches and gum diseases as we are.
It’s easy to forget about dog teeth care and dental health, but making sure those pearly whites are all clean will help keep both you and your pup happy and smiling!
Veterinarians report that an estimated 85 percent of dogs over age 4 are suffering from some form of periodontal disease, a painful oral condition that can lead to tooth loss and infection. Left untreated, bacteria introduced by the problem can enter the bloodstream and affect his heart, kidneys, or liver.
If you’re a dog parent that has not made this their priority, it’s never too late to start!
So how do we know when to do something about it?
There is no actual “sign” for it, unless it’s already an extreme case. We have to remember that dogs should have their teeth brushed and checked regularly, just like humans!
Check for these signs for extreme conditions:
- Bad breath
- Broken or loose teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
- Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Pain in or around the mouth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth
It’s a given that dogs tend to have less-than-ideal breath and it can be because of many different things, both extreme and not-so extreme.
- Broken teeth and roots
- Strong smelling food
- Have not brushed in a long time
- Periodontal disease
- Abscesses or infected teeth
- Cysts or tumors in the mouth
- Malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
- Broken (fractured) jaw
- Palate defects (such as cleft palate)
What do I need?
Believe it or not, you don’t need a lot! They’re almost exactly like any human. Your local pet store should have all the necessary supplies in a kit. Usually, here’s what you’ll get:
- Doggy toothpaste
- A dog-safe toothbrush
- Finger bristles
- Dog dental wipes
They can also come in handy if your dog is particularly difficult to work with.
For those that are unable to brush their dog’s teeth or simply want to switch up their cleaning techniques, dog dental wipes finger bristles are two great alternatives. Tooth wipes are made to be rubbed against your dog’s teeth to help remove plaque. Finger bristles are an alternative to the brush and are better suited for puppies and dogs with sensitive gums. They work similarly to toothbrushes, but the only downside is they are not able to get into the tiny nooks and crannies that a brush does.
DO NOT use human toothpaste on dogs. They can have severe reactions as some components of human toothpaste are toxic to dogs.
How to brush their teeth?
Always start slow. And don’t rush, especially if you’ve just introduced it to your dog recently. Gently wean your pup by rewarding them along the way.
- Gently probe around your dog’s mouth with a finger. Make sure they’re calm and comfortable during the entire session.
- Without any toothpaste, involve the brush. But keep alternating with your finger until you can slowly transition into full brush strokes. Remember to keep it gentle and in circular motions.
- Let your dog have a small taste of the toothpaste. Have them lick it and get used to the flavor.
- Put some toothpaste on the brush and try to resume the circular brushing motions. Do this all the way around, under, and over. Try to get to the gaps and backs of your dog’s teeth.
- You’re done! Give them a drink of water and a treat for all that calm composure.
What else can we do?
There are many other ways to keep your dog’s dental health in check:
- Regular trips to the vet/groomers for a cleaning service. This is great for reaching deeper into your dog’s mouth and making sure that plaque and tartar don’t build up.
- Dental treats are designed to keep your dog’s teeth clean. Give them one every now and then.
- A proper diet is key to making sure they get the proper nutrition to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
As an additional thing you can do for days when your dog doesn’t really need some brushing, you can give them some dental sticks or dental chews! Both can be found in most pet stores or groceries. These treats are made specifically to remove plaque buildup and often contain ingredients that freshen breath and clean your dog’s mouth. Not only does it help with your dog’s breath and dental health, but it also makes it fun for them since they are given a “treat”.
Please make sure to regularly consult your veterinarian. They are experienced in preventing, locating, and treating any issues that might go unnoticed by even the most dedicated dog owner. If there is one option you choose to promote your dog’s dental health, we suggest visiting your veterinarian for a professional exam.
All this information can be quite overwhelming, but it truly is simple. Create a schedule or routine for your dog’s dental matters (and other hygiene-related things) and it’ll all just work out for both of you. Consistency is the key!
We know that it isn’t always the easiest thing to do, since there are many other factors to consider. But, making sure that you are aware of what comes with dog dental health and dog teeth care are steps toward ensuring that they live a long and happy life. And besides, nothing’s cuter than a happy, smiling dog.
For more dog health care tips and heartwarming stories, feel free to browse our website and share it with fellow dog parents!