Do you know that your dog needs oral hygiene care just as much as you do? Pet owners are often unaware that caring for their dog’s teeth is essential to avoid a host of dental diseases that can affect the quality of life for their four-legged family members.
There are several important steps you should take to keep your pet’s teeth healthy and strong. For starters, your dog should have her teeth brushed, using a toothpaste formulated for dogs or a DIY toothpaste for dogs.
Do not use human toothpaste on dogs, as these contain ingredients that may be toxic to your pet. Discuss how often you should brush your dog’s teeth with your veterinarian.
You can also purchase dog dental formula water additives that have anti-microbial properties to help keep your dog’s mouth clean.
Your veterinarian should inspect your dog’s teeth at every routine visit and should recommend a dental health care regime specifically for your dog.
Dog dental chews may help strengthen teeth and gums while cleaning in hard to reach places inside your dog’s mouth.
Chew toys designed to help clean your dog’s teeth can also help remove some plaque build-up on teeth. The toys should be textured in a way that parts of the toys are scrubbing various areas of your dog’s teeth as they chew.
Make sure to provide your dog with a healthy diet of high-quality, nutritious food. For treats, do not rely on processed treats. Instead, give your dog veggie slices, such as carrots, which are also suitable for cleaning teeth.
Types of Dental Disease in Dogs
Dogs over the age of 3 are likely to have some form of dental disease.
Just like humans, there are many different dental diseases dogs can develop. Poor oral care, plus the hard wear and tear dogs put on their teeth, can result in broken or fractured teeth.
Dogs use their mouths in much the way we use our hands, subjecting their teeth to damage. Supervise your dog’s play and avoid allowing her to pick up metal, rocks, and other hard objects with her mouth.
Gingivitis in dogs is the inflammation of gums that is a precursor to periodontal disease. Gingivitis is easily treatable, but when it develops into periodontal disease, it is more challenging to treat.
Periodontal disease is an infection that can spread into the tooth socket resulting in the loss of teeth while causing pain and discomfort.
Signs of Dental Disease in Dogs
Some of the signs that your dog has dental disease include:
1. Halitosis (bad breath)
2. A new reluctance to eat their regular food
3. Noticeable difficulty in chewing
4. Drooling excessively
5. Red or swollen gums
6. Stains on their teeth
7. Bleeding gums
8. Noticeable tartar build-up, especially along the gumline
9. Pus on the gums is an obvious sign of active infection
10. Loose, broken or damaged teeth
12. Visible signs of pain or discomfort
13. Refusal to play with favorite chew toys
The older your dog is, the more likely she is to develop dental disease. Make sure you change your dog’s oral health care routine to match her advancing age. Your veterinarian should help advise you on things that you can change to help keep your dog’s teeth as healthy as possible as she ages.
If you notice any of the above signs of dental disease, you should implement a dental care routine right away. If you already have an established method, but your dog is exhibiting new signs of dental disease, make an appointment to talk to your vet. Active infections may need antibiotic treatment, and your vet might recommend a professional dental cleaning under general anesthesia.
You should examine your dog’s mouth a few times a week to make sure no new problems are emerging. The quicker you notice and address a dental problem, the more likely it is that you will have a successful outcome.
What tips can you offer?
Do you have any suggestions for how to identify and treat dental disease in dogs? Let me know in a comment below, or stop by my private Facebook group for dog moms and join in the conversation there.