A commonly overlooked aspect of your pet’s health may be their oral hygiene. Many owners are not even aware that dogs can suffer from cavities, gum disease or general tooth and mouth problems like humans. Luckily, there is a lot you can do for your best friend to make sure their mouths are healthy and their smiles are happy for as long as possible.
Periodontal disease, which is gum disease caused by bacteria buildup on teeth, can affect dogs as young as three years old. This happens mostly because owners do not brush their dog’s teeth or take other measures to help maintain oral health. Fortunately, besides just brushing, there are a number of things you can do to help your pet keep a clean, healthy mouth.
Canine Oral Health
One of the biggest indicators of poor oral health in dogs is severe bad breath. While we don’t expect dogs to have minty fresh breath, severe bad breath is a symptom of a larger problem. Bacteria can build up in your dog’s mouth around their teeth and start to affect the teeth and gums. Left unchecked, this bacteria can cause your dog to lose their teeth, develop severe gum disease and even threaten their overall health.
That is why it is important to check your dog’s mouth routinely and take steps to make sure their teeth and gums are cleaned and protected. If you’re unsure whether your dog is suffering from oral health issues, a veterinarian is the best person to consult either way.
How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Brushing your dog’s teeth is the number one way to keep their teeth and gums clean and healthy. However, there are a few things you need to know before getting started. First, human toothpaste contains chemicals that are toxic to dogs. Therefore, the most important reminder is to use toothpaste made for dogs and not for humans. Luckily, these toothpastes are flavored with things your dog might love, like chicken or salmon. This makes them more likely to sit still through the process. To that end, your dog can be trained to let you brush their teeth just like when you cut their nails.
While you can use toothbrushes that are made for humans, there are also other products, like finger brushes, that might make it easier to clean in the back of your dog’s mouth. Ultimately, while this process may take some practice in the beginning, it is critical to your dog’s health.
Additional Ways to Clean A Dog’s Mouth
Brushing, while key, isn’t the end all be all for canine oral health. There are also steps you can take that don’t involve you brushing your dog’s teeth every day. Many of these solutions are products you can buy at a pet store or grocery store and can help your dog’s mouth stay healthy and clean long term. Common oral health products include:
- Doggy dental treats
- Chewing sticks with additives to keep your dog’s teeth cleaner
- Professional cleanings at a groomer or vet
- Rubber chew toys
These products encourage your dog to chew and gnaw which can help get the bacteria off the teeth using the chewing motion.
Consult Your Veterinarian
The leading authority on your dog’s oral and overall health is your vet. If you aren’t sure if your dog is having a bad breath day or is showing signs of a serious issue, contact us today to make an appointment and find out. As with many health concerns, oral health issues have a better outlook the earlier they are discovered. If you have any questions about your dog’s teeth contact us today at Riverside Animal Care.