The Value of Dental Care for Dogs
The myth that dogs’ mouths are cleaner than ours has been thwarting doggy dental care for generations. Your beloved dog’s teeth need their fair share of attention, or else you might end up having to deal with worrisome medical problems.
Dogs have much more alkaline in their mouths than we do and as a result are roughly five times more likely to catch gum disease. Yikes! To make matters worse, most dogs rarely complain about dental complications and can withstand weeks of painful toothaches without so much as a wince.
Over time, your dog’s mouth collects bacteria, bits and pieces of food, and possibly even debris that can develop into chunks of tartar and plaque. Dirty teeth can lead to mouth infections, which in turn can end up causing some serious health issues.
Common Signs Your Dog May Need Dental Care
Here are several signs to look out for, if you are concerned about dental care for dogs:
- Abnormally bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Loose, broken, crooked, or misaligned teeth (larger dogs are especially prone to this)
- Swollen, bleeding, or red gums
- Lumps or brownish crusts in or around the mouth
- Pawing at the mouth
Even if your dog is not facing any of these symptoms, it is advisable to get him a dental checkup every six to twelve months as a precautionary measure.
How To Clean Your Dog’s Teeth
Cleaning your dog’s teeth is a pretty straightforward process:
- Wrap gauze around your finger, wet it with water, dab it in baking soda or dog toothpaste, and then gently rub it on your dog’s teeth and gums. (You can also use a dog toothbrush.)
- Worthwhile to note is that human toothpaste, which contains ample amounts of fluoride, is toxic for dogs and should not be used to brush their teeth.
Here are some tips to help your experience run more smoothly:
- Begin brushing when your dog is relaxed, maybe after he’s been exercising for a while.
- Start slowly and build your way up. It’s okay not to brush the entire mouth on the first go!
- Be gentle and maybe even have someone massage your dog while you do the brushing.
- Reward your dog with a treat afterward.
How To Reduce The Risk Of Dental Issues
Rather than wait for your dog’s breath to turn sour to start brushing his teeth, you can take some preventative steps to improve your dog’s health:
Quality dog food not only properly nourishes dogs, but also keeps their body healthy from teeth to toes.
- Aim for dry, rather than soft, food
- Offer vegetable and fruit snacks
- Give dried meat as a chew treat
Using raw bones and chew toys is really just killing two birds with one stone: your dog gets to have fun while cleaning his teeth.
- Chew bones and toys strengthen gums and teeth. Bone chews can be too tough for some dogs, in which case rawhides, pig ears, or dehydrated chews may be safer, albeit less effective, alternatives.
- Avoid chew bones made of starch. Commercial, corn-based chews are generally stickier than vegetables or dried meat and are liable to cause more problems than they resolve.
- Look for products with a Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval for guaranteed healthiness.
You can use a water additive in your dog’s daily drink as a preventative measure for tartar.
Establish a teeth-cleaning routine at a young age so your dog feels as comfortable as possible throughout the activity.
Got your dogs teeth in order but don't know what to do with its ears? Click on the picture and find out more about cleaning dog ears!
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