Many dog owners do not realise that dental disease, particularly gum disease, is common in their pets. Surveys show that after the age of three years, about seven out of ten pets have some kind of dental disorder. If there is a problem and it is left untreated it could cause irreversible damage to teeth, gums and jawbone. Dog owners should have a dental routine in place for their dog to help towards a happy and healthy life. We will list a few hints and tips on keeping your dog’s mouth in good order
Use a good quality toothbrush. It doesn’t have to be a special one. Brushes for humans will do. If you have a medium to large dog use an adult brush. If you have a small to medium size dog, a child’s toothbrush will be sufficient. You can get puppy toothbrushes from your vet as they can be used on miniature and toy dogs. If you are just starting to brush your dog’s teeth it may be wise to buy finger brushes. This will help get your dog used to the sensation of having its teeth brushed.
You will need to regularly brush your dog’s teeth. This will prevent gum disease, the build-up of tarter and will help to remove plaque. It will also keep your dog’s breath fresh. If your dog isn’t happy about having this done, keep at it. They will soon accept it as part of their routine.
Make sure you use pet toothpaste. These are flavoured so dogs will like them and will be more likely to let you brush their teeth. Also, dogs will be swallowing the paste so they formulated not to cause any harm. You can get toothpaste and other dental products from your vet.
Give your dog something to chew. A strong, rubber chew toy or rawhide strips can help towards keeping teeth clean and healthy.
Making changes to your dog’s diet can help. Replacing soft foods with dry or fibrous materials will slow down the build-up of plaque. The extra chewing stimulates the production of saliva which has natural antibiotics. There are special diets available to help keep your pets teeth clean. Speak to your vet who will be able to advise you on this.
Did you know dogs will chew things with enough force to break their teeth? Regularly check your dog’s mouth for any problems. Things to look out for which might indicate an issue are
Chipped or broken teeth
Red, swollen or bleeding gums
Check the gum line fits around the teeth.
If there is a more serious dental issue look out for
Problems eating – advanced dental issues may be causing your dog some pain and discomfort
If your dog is in pain they may be shaking their head or pawing at their mouth.
You dog may dribble excessively
If you believe there is a problem take your dog to the vet immediately. If your dog has a dental problem and is in pain the vet may take an x-ray to see if there are any deep abscesses. If your dog has any loose teeth they may be removed as they cannot be treated. The vet may even prescribe antibiotics to combat signs of infection before doing any dental work.
If you regularly clean your dog’s teeth there will be less chance of any dental problems occurring. However, it is advisable to get your pets teeth checked at least once a year with the vet.
If you have any questions regarding this subject please call us at the clinic and someone will be happy to discuss this with you. Alternatively, you can leave a comment on our Facebook page.