One of the harder aspects of owning a dog is keeping it completely healthy. The right kind of food and exercise is a big factor in this, but often we can forget about the smaller things that can lead to just as much pain. Dental care should play a big factor with your pet dog, and this article will inform you the best way to manage your dog’s teeth.
Like humans, a dog’s teeth can come under an immense amount of stress. While we may use our teeth to help open bottles or crack the shells on nuts, dogs use their teeth while catching balls, playing with rocks, playing fetch amongst a whole host of things that humans don’t deal with. Such stress can cause high amounts of damage if something goes wrong, so the teeth and gums need to remain strong and healthy.
Whilst many people expect a dog to have bad breath, this can be a sign of dental disease. Regularly monitoring your dog’s dental health will help you catch any dental problems before they get too serious. Amongst other things, the signs to look out for are; Halitosis, a reluctance to chew, pain whilst chewing, red and puffy gums, bleeding gums, tartar build-up and missing or loose teeth. Any of these could be signs that your dog has a dental disease, and you should consult with your vet immediately. The diseases that start in the mouth can spread to the heart and kidneys, so it is truly in your dog’s best interest to check it out as soon as possible.
In order to prevent dental disease, there are a number of methods you should follow and work with. First of all, never brush your dog’s teeth with human toothpaste – this will just make your dog sick! Buy especially made dog-toothpaste as this is both kinder on your dog’s body and specifically designed to handle the kind of bacterial build-up that dog’s face. Remember that tartar/plaque forms between 24-48 hours so regular brushing is always recommended. A tip you can use here is to work your brushing schedule in with the dogs’, so that you automatically remember to do it.
To make the brushing easier on your dog, you should begin the brushing regime with a finger brush. This will be a bit more hands on (and slobbery) for you, but it will be less punishing than a hard brush at first and really helps the dog settle into the habit of having its teeth cleaned. If you are unsure on how best to clean your dog’s teeth, you can always ask your vet for tips and tricks. Regular veterinary exams will help keep track on the cleaning process and also pick up on areas you may be missing.
Understandably, some dogs may just not want their teeth brushed. To get around this, you can get special mouth rinses for dogs that will help reduce the build-up of tartar – again, ask your vet which would be the best brand before trying, and always ask for advice on how best to approach the task. Finally, there are plenty of ‘dental stick’ chew treats designed to both clean your dog’s teeth while giving them a tasty treat. Whilst real bones can produce the same effect, they run the risk of causing gastro-intestinal upset or fracturing teeth.
Once again, if you do suspect that something isn’t right with your dog’s dental health, or your dog starts showing any of the symptoms mentioned above, do not hesitate to get in contact with your vet for a consultation.