Has your sweet puppy lost their fresh breath? Does it make you cringe when they open their mouth to give you a kiss and the smell hits you? Bad breath in dogs is often a sign of poor oral health. Tooth decay and gum disease can cause your dog many health problems. If you need some ideas on the best way to care for your dog’s teeth, give these four things a try. Your dog (and your nose) will thank you!
Four Ways to Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Healthy
1. Brush Their Teeth Every Day
Just like human teeth, dogs’ teeth also grow plaque every day. It only takes about 24-48 hours for plaque to turn into tartar, a hard crust that forms on the surface of the teeth. A buildup of tartar can lead to all sorts of problems, from tooth decay to gum disease. Brushing your pet’s teeth gets rid of plaque and keeps their teeth healthy.
It may take some time for your dog to become accustomed to tooth brushing. Always start slowly, offering kindness and rewards. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush (you can use a dog toothbrush or human one) and a small, pea-sized amount of dog toothpaste. Brush in small, gentle circular motions, carefully cleaning each tooth and your dog’s gums.
Warning: Be sure to only use toothpaste that’s formulated for dogs, as human toothpaste often contains xylitol and other ingredients that can make your dog extremely ill.
2. Dental Treats
Many dental treats are formulated to help keep your dogs’ teeth healthy. Used sparingly (about twice a week) these yummy dental helpers can help do some of the brushing for you.
Dental treats contain additives that help dissolve plaque and festering bacteria. They work as a failsafe when used in combination with brushing and dental chew toys (because everyone forgets to brush every once in a while).
As with any supplement to your dog’s diet, it is important to consult your vet so you know what to look for in a dental treat. Your vet can help you choose the best type of treat for your dog’s specific needs.
3. Proper Chew Toys
While fun and stimulating for your pet, toys can also help provide some of the same effects as brushing. The chewing action creates friction as the material and your dog’s teeth rub together, creating a slight brushing effect.
It is important to look for toys that are right for your pet’s chew preference, age, and weight. And, monitoring your dog when they chew on their toys can also help you see if there are any behavioral changes that indicate their teeth might be hurting them.
4. Yearly Dental Exams
The final line of defense is yearly dental exams. They give you and your vet a good idea of the health of your dog’s teeth, and can help you catch dental problems early on. If something is festering under the gums, or if a tooth is cracked, a dental exam will find the problem and help you keep your dog healthy.
Here at East Valley Animal Hospital, dental care for dogs is extremely important to us! The members of our team take extra care in making sure they are up to date on all the latest information and techniques regarding oral hygiene for dogs.
Why Does Keeping Your Dog’s Teeth Healthy Matter?
Poor oral health can lead to a sick, unhappy pet. Dogs with poor teeth tend to eat less, have less energy, and can be prone to behavioral problems due to pain. A cracked, broken, or decayed tooth can cause extreme pain for your dog, and so can gum disease.
Periodontal (gum) disease affects almost 90% of dogs. If left untreated it can wreak havoc on their bones, gums, and teeth. Dogs with gum disease often need tooth extractions or dental surgery, so preventing the onset of gum disease is critical.
Veterinary Dental Care in Gilbert, Arizona
If you need help keeping your dog’s teeth healthy, or if your dog has never had a dental exam, call us today for an appointment. Veterinary dental care is the best way to prevent tooth loss, infections, and tooth pain. You can request an appointment online or give us a call at 480-892-1577.