Your dog probably doesn’t care too much about having a bright, shiny, and white smile, but clean and healthy teeth are something every dog owner should want for their furry friends. The condition of a dog’s teeth says a lot about the dog’s general state of health, and dog dental care should preferably be preventive rather than reconstructive.
By continuously looking after your pup’s teeth, you reduce the risk of tooth decay, oral diseases, and expensive veterinary bills further down the line. Here are a few tips for taking proper care of your pup’s teeth.
Oral Health Problems in Dogs
When you bring a cute little puppy home, the last thing you tend to think about is the puppy’s teeth. Puppy teeth fall out and are replaced by sparkling white adult teeth, but the problem is that dog teeth don’t stay white unless you care for them properly.
Dogs that are over the age of four are likely to already be experiencing dental issues, and veterinarians estimate that approximately 85% are already beginning to show signs of oral problems and gum disease.
Canine Oral Disease
The term ‘canine oral disease’ is often associated with teeth loss, plaque, and tartar, but there is more to be aware of when it comes to your dog’s mouth. Not all dental problems are easy to spot, and some require you to pay close attention to any changes in your furry friend’s mouth, teeth, or gum.
Plaque can cause inflammation in your dog’s mouth, and this type of dental inflammation is known as gingivitis. The most common sign of gingivitis is bad breath, but the good news is that it tends to be reversible. The solution is to take action and step up your game with your dog’s dental care.
Tardar build-up causes an unattractive yellow or brown layer on your dog’s teeth, but it also causes bad breath. You could say that halitosis is the first step towards dental inflammation (gingivitis), which is essentially caused by the accumulation of plaque.
- Periodontal Disease
This unpleasant dog mouth disease requires veterinary care, and it is something a veterinarian will look for if you bring in a dog with inflamed gums, teeth loss, bleeding in the mouth, or excessive amounts of plaque and tartar.
- Proliferating Gum Disease
For the owners of specific dog breeds like the Boxer, Proliferating gum disease is something you will need to be aware of. A condition like this causes the gum to cover part of the teeth. You won’t see this phenomenon on a dog with normally developed gums, and it creates pockets that could turn into growing grounds for harmful oral bacteria.
- Cysts and Tumors
Any abnormal growths in your dog’s mouth should be checked by a trusted veterinarian. Most are harmless, but some could require immediate medical attention. When you take good care of your dog’s teeth, you will be more likely to catch a problem early on.
Signs & Symptoms
Reading about canine oral diseases can be a little scary and unpleasant, but as a dog owner – it is crucial to be informed. Knowing what to look for can be what saves your dog from developing serious and irreversible issues. Wouldn’t you say we owe that to our best fur friends?
The best thing you can do is to take your pup in for regular checkups, but here are a few things you can keep an eye out for when you brush your dog’s teeth or attend to their oral health needs.
- Red or bleeding gums.
- Abnormal growths in the mouth.
- Excessive drooling.
- Bad breath.
- Loss of appetite.
- Blood in the saliva.
- Loose teeth or teeth loss.
These are not the only signs of an oral issue, and a good rule is that any drastic change in your dog’s habits should be checked by a veterinarian.
Keeping Your Dog’s Teeth Clean
Prevention is your dog’s best defense against oral disease. We have listed a few tips for how to keep your dog’s mouth healthy. These are not remedies for dogs that already suffer from dental problems, and should only be used as a preventive method, to make sure your pup’s pearly whites stay in good shape.
No matter how you try, there is really nothing that can replace brushing your dog’s teeth. It can be a hassle, but the key is to get your pooch used to it as soon as possible and to make it a regular part of your daily dog routine.
It is extremely important to only use toothpaste made for dogs. Human toothpaste contains xylitol, and xylitol is highly toxic to dogs and could result in death. Use a dog toothpaste, and work on making it a positive experience for your four-legged friend.
When a dog chews, it helps remove plaque and tartar in a natural way. Invest in natural chew treats for your dog, but avoid rawhide. Rawhide is sold in most supermarkets and very commonly used for dogs, but it is not doing dogs any favors. The issue with rawhide is that the dog is unable to digest it and that it could cause a blockage.
Instead of rawhide, get natural chew treats like bully sticks and antlers! You can even find bully stick holders which prevent the dog from potentially choking on the last piece of the chew. You should always supervise your dog while he or she chews.
Healthy Dog Food
The food you feed your pups directly impacts their oral health. Kibble contributes to healthy teeth thanks to the chewing motion when the dog eats, but a low-quality kibble is full of sugar and unhealthy additives, and therefore a bad idea.
Choose quality dog food for the good of your dog’s mouth. You can recognize a top brand by reading through the list of content. Avoid dog food listing fillers like soy, corn, and wheat, and choose food products listing named meat products first. A named meat product can be, for example, chicken, lamb, duck, turkey, or beef.
Another great option to combat plaque and tartar is a water dental additive. These are sold in pet stores, and you use them by adding a few drops to your dog’s water bowl. Some dogs aren’t too fond of the taste, but they tend to get used to it after a while.
Dog dental care should never be taken lightly, and especially if you have a dog breed that is prone to teeth loss and other oral problems. It is a common misconception that only small dogs suffer from bad breath and the loss of teeth, but it is something that can happen to any dog.
To keep your fur friend’s mouth healthy and clean, make sure you incorporate preventive dog dental care in your daily routine. It doesn’t have to take many minutes out of your day and it can be life-changing for your pet.