The Importance of Your Dog's Dental Health
The health of your teeth and mouth can set the tone for the rest of your body’s health. The same is true with your dog. Part of canine ownership is caring for their teeth.
Poor dental hygiene can lead to several dental issues. Your dog can experience pain, infection, and tooth decay/loss. Moreover, severe cases can lead to problems in the heart, liver, and kidneys.
Brushing a dog’s teeth is not always an easy task. Therefore, many owners will skip dental care. Dental disease is one of the most common health issues with dogs. Most dogs by the age of three have some dental disease. Early intervention and training will make dental care easier for dogs and owners.
Proper dental care can save your dog from painful symptoms and can save you money at the vet. With regular brushing by you and regular dental checks by your veterinarian, you can stay ahead of any dental issues.
Regular Vet Check-ups for Dental Health
Your veterinarian plays a significant role in your dog’s health. Your veterinarian will examine your dog’s gums and teeth during regular check-ups.
She will inspect the teeth for any damage, disease, or decay. She will recommend a professional cleaning for your dog’s teeth when necessary.
For younger dogs, a yearly check-up that coincides with their regular exam is enough. However, more visits may be required as your dog ages or experiences dental issues.
During your visit, your veterinarian will examine your dog’s teeth and recommend any further action or products to use.
Even if your dog is older, you can slow down the decay with proper care. Your veterinarian will advise you on the best treatment course.
The Role of Diet in Dental Health
Your dog’s diet is critical in maintaining your dog’s overall health. A balanced diet will support your dog’s body and keep his teeth strong and healthy. That being said, a poor diet will accelerate the issues of tooth decay and gum disease.
Always feed your dog a high-quality and balanced diet. His diet should contain foods high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Additionally, avoid feeding your dog table scraps, particularly those high in sugar. This will accelerate tooth decay.
Dogs chew on toys, raw bones, and other dental treats. All these options help clean your dog’s teeth and reduce plaque and tartar buildup.
Finally, regular access to clean drinking water will allow your dog to rinse his teeth from food and bacteria.
Daily Dental Care Tips
Brushing Your Dog's Teeth
As part of your dog’s regular maintenance routine, you should add brushing his teeth. It is best to make brushing a daily routine. Brushing his teeth and gums will remove plaque and bacteria. With diligent care, you can prevent or slow the progress of gum disease and tooth decay. It will even freshen your dog’s doggie breath!
Adjust your dog to the flavor of the toothpaste. Once he is accustomed to it, brush his teeth and gums slowly and gently. Just like your own teeth, brush in a circular motion. You will want to ensure you brush all his teeth, especially along the gum line.
Use positive reinforcement for your dog’s good behavior while brushing.
Choosing the Right Dental Chews
Your veterinarian will suggest the best dental chew for your dog. These chews are excellent choices to protect your dog’s teeth while giving him stimulation. Overall, dog dental chews are designed to remove plaque and tartar buildup from your dog’s teeth. They will also freshen breath and promote overall health.
Recognizing Signs of Dental Problems
Sadly, you will notice the symptoms of dental disease in your dog long after the damage has been done. However, you should still act when the signs are detected to prevent any future damage.
Some signs and symptoms you should look for are:
- Bad Breath
- Discolored teeth
- Noticeable Plaque
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- Difficulty eating
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, visit your veterinarian immediately. Even with proper brushing and check-ups, dental problems can still occur with age. Proper check-ups with dental issues can help your dog avoid further damage or pain.
Dealing with Dental Diseases
Periodontal disease is a common issue amongst dogs, particularly as they age. This disease is caused by plaque and tarter buildup on your dog’s teeth and gums.
With periodontal disease, your dog may experience bad breath, swollen and bleeding gums, and loose teeth. To avoid this decay, follow the daily teeth care routine detailed above. Proper brushing and regular check-ups should prevent or mitigate the symptoms.
If periodontal disease is left untreated, it can lead to overall health issues. Tooth and gum damage can lead to loss of teeth and bone loss. There are instances where a sedated cleaning is necessary or tooth extraction.
Broken teeth can stem from many situations, including dental disease and trauma. If you notice a broken tooth, visit your veterinarian immediately. After all, a broken tooth can expose the pulp and root of the tooth to the outside world. Not only is this painful, but it can also lead to infection. Broken teeth are generally removed to prevent pain and disease.
If the cause of the broken tooth is dental disease, your veterinarian will also suggest other treatments. If the reason is from chewing on hard objects or trauma, your veterinarian will discuss how to avoid further damage.