Your Dogs Dental Health & Hygiene
Speaking for myself I really do think that pet owners do care for the pets in their care and as a dog owner myself I just cannot understand anyone who would intentionally causes harm or distress to their pets. But it is possible to cause harm without even knowing it.
Dog owners usually take great care of their dogs, they feed them healthy food and snacks, they walk them regularly and take care of their general hygiene by occasionally bathing and brushing them plus they usually take their dogs to the vets for regular checkups and ensure that their charges receive the best treatment allround.
But what about our dogs dental health? when it comes to our dogs dental care it is thought that we are generally lacking in this area. We could even be doing our dogs dental health 60harm by giving them soft food or too many soft snacks
If the dogs teeth are not cleaned then like us the remains of any food can get stuck and can remain their for several days where the harm can set in leading to all sorts of gum disease etc..
But what more could we dog owners do?
Firstly, just for a moment let’s compare their daily routine with ourselves, especially with regard to our eating habits with our main meals our snacks and drinks etc.
Because we do all of the above except that most of us will brush our teeth at least a few times each day and some of us even floss or use a mouth wash in addition to this plus we will regularly see a dentist and maybe a hygienist so that our teeth are buffed up to a sparkling shine and no plaque in site.
So why is it that we don’t pay similar attention to our Dogs Dental Care? Yes I know that may raise a smile or two depending on your own particular breed of dog, there are some dogs where there would be no way that you would put anything near its teeth for fear of losing it.
But seriously, how many of us would even think about brushing our dog’s teeth? I know I haven’t in the past, at least not until I saw a problem and then I think I would let my vet take care of it. But we do give our Dogs something called Dentastix which according to the packaging is all that is required in order to look after our dogs dental care plus we also feed our dog dry food which is also better for his dental cleanliness.
The official line from the Canine Dentists is that we should be regularly brushing our dogs teeth a few times each week as a minimum.It is said that if we as responsible dog owners introduce toothpaste and brushing teeth to our pets at an early stage then they will become accustomed to it just as easily as brushing their coat.
Some dog breeds are easier to handle than others and while some may allow their owner to brush their teeth, but there are even small dogs who can get nasty if you try to do something unexpected. Some of the larger breeds may require a vet’s attention in order to safely get near them in order to do basic dental work and even then some may even need to be put to sleep before any treatment is possible. The following video shows you just how brushing can be done;
So judging from dog owners I know and have talked to not all dog owners have thought too much about brushing their dog’s teeth at all, let alone frequently or even give our dogs dental care much thought unless there was an obvious problem. But, just like us, dogs dental care is very important and without any preventative measures being taken, like using dry food and teeth cleaning treats and snacks, Its highly likely that some dogs are going to develop dental problems with some suffering from more serious gum disease in as little as three or four years of age.
It is just as important to take care of your dog’s teeth as it is for any other part of the dog’s health routine. You must know what to look out for in order to spot any hint of trouble that may result in more urgent medical attention being required.
Start by looking at your dog’s mouth and smelling his breath.
You should routinely inspect your dog’s mouth, for signs that all is not well, it can be done easily while stroking your dog, first check his breath, it may not be minty fresh, not many dogs do but it should not be too bad to tolerate. But if your dog has really bad breath, and especially if he has been urinating and drinking more than usual, or being physically sick then a check up with the vet may be required.
If you are able to, you should inspect your dog’s teeth by lifting up his lips just as the following video shows.
Obviously when a dog gets older, it will be likely he will develop bad breath and dental problems just as we do and there may be little we can do by then but for now keep your dog healthy. Your vet will be looking for these kinds of problems on his annual checkups.
The typical problems that are likely to affect your dog dental work will be things like tartar/plague build up (gingivitis) If you suspect that your dog has prolong bad breathe then seek advice from your vet.
Loose teeth are also another sign of possible problems as are, Inflammation of the gums, Excessive drooling, Difficulty in eating properly, any lumps developing in the mouth or tongue.
Good Dog Dental Care can help to prevent many nasty conditions developing by regular care and maintenance. Take Gingivitis for example, this is caused purely by the build up of tartar and plague. It is a disease of the gums which leads them to swell and could lead to loss of teeth if not sorted out quickly. Then you have Halitosis, this is another disease caused by bacteria arising from left over soft food that is left trapped in the dogs teeth. Finally Periodontal Disease, which is a disease that develops between the teeth and gums and is known to cause discomfort for the dog and may also result in the loss of teeth.
It’s true that we know that for ourselves regular brushing is the key to preventing many diseases that can lead to early tooth loss. But for out dogs it is not always easy to manage our dogs dental care and it could be impossible for some owners of certain breeds, so the only solution would be to take your dog to the vet for treatment. In some case in may be necessary for a dog to be sleeping soundly in order to perform even the basic form of dental treatment. But if you can get close enough and your dog will let you then regular brushing will always help to keep tooth decay at bay. Ideally you should begin to teach a new pup (as soon as it has teeth) to let you brush its teeth, making the whole process as enjoyable as possible.
Starting out in this way should get your dog used to regular tooth maintenance using a special tooth paste for dogs (usually a meat tasting formula).
On no account should you ever use your own toothpaste, this toothpaste could be harmful and cause stomach problems in him.
You could choose to make your own toothpaste for your dog using baking soda and water, but it may be better and safer to ask your vet which type of toothpaste would be best for your own breed of dog. They may even supply you with a trial pack as they often receive these as promotions from various companies from time to time. This way you can see how your dog takes to it before you begin to spend a fortune.
When buying dogs toothpaste, you should avoid any containing sugar or alcohol; most pastes are made in the types of flavour that dogs should used to such as meat etc. You could also try using a liquid version of tooth paste, but with a little patience and trial and error you will soon find the right balance for you and your dog.
Just to reiterate, my vet has always suggested that we use dentastix which is the hard type of treat that also helps to keep our dogs teeth in reasonable shape and each time we visit the vet he checks them over and will remove any plaque as required, but this hardly ever required and we have only had to have any dental work done as our dogs get much older which is normal as they age (just as we do). We do check their teeth to ensure they are clean with good healthy gums. Another suggestion is to feed them good quality dry food which also helps to keep their teeth healthy.
The following video shows how to go about cleaning your dogs teeth;
The official recommendation is to brush your dog’s teeth on a daily basis using a special toothbrush made especially for dogs which are double-headed and usually have a 45-degree angle in order to get into the gums as well as the teeth, to remove bits of food that may remain behind. Again you may need to seek advice from your vet which brush he recommends for your breed of dog.
Puppies should have all their adult teeth by the age of 7 months, you can buy special brushes for puppies, which are a little softer and it helps to start training them as soon as they have their adult teeth so that they will accept you brushing their teeth as a normal routine rather than springing it on them at the age of two for example. But just as with any other form of training don’t forget to reward them with a suitable dental friendly treat!
Tips for brushing your dog’s teeth can be seen here;
Just remember to keep the mood fun, while brushing and talk to them while you are doing it, giving praise and encouragement which they love to receive.
Wow another gem here; Believe it or not, you can obtain a mouth wash for your dog!
Although I have never seen this done, but I would love to see this done; a dog swilling the mouth washes around and to spit it out would be hilarious, I think, wouldn’t you like to see such a feat?
Chlorhexidine oral rinse and gel, can be put into a dogs mouth and rubbed around the teeth and gums although the dogs are not likely to enjoy the experience. I would say leave this to the vet after all, they already dislike the vets visits and it is better that they hate the vet rather than you, don’t you think?
Types Of Food and Chews
Dry food is far better for the benefit of your dogs teeth and gums, as soft food tends get stuck between the teeth and the gums. You can also give your dog synthetic chewing bones and toys which are intended to strengthen and clean your dogs’ teeth and gums as they chew. These also satisfy the instinctive desire dogs have to gnaw on things which also help to relieve any stress in your dog.
If you notice that your dog has developed bad breath, possibly after a change to his normal diet or if he has eaten something totally disgusting as dogs do….Why do they do that?
You can buy products that will help with keeping your dog’s mouth smelling sweet. You can get this sort of product at your vets or at a local pet store.
But don’t forget to try the Amazon stores as they do great ranges of pet supplies at really competitive prices.