All dog owners are extremely conscious of their dog’s health and put a lot of time and effort into things like his food, exercise, cleanliness and in ensuring that he is getting enough love and attention. However, something that is often forgotten and ignored is his teeth and dental health.
Dog dental care is a very important aspect of your dog’s overall health, that is often overlooked, but doing that can cause deterioration in his overall health. Although dogs are relatively less prone to dental problems and cavities as compared to humans, they can still develop many oral problems. Plaque build-up is a common problem in dogs and so in gingivitis. These Dog dental care issues aren’t just problems in themselves, because of the discomfort they cause; rather, their side effects can be pretty serious and harmful. If the problem is not recognised, bacteria from the buildup and infections can enter the blood and penetrate kidneys, heart and liver system causing further irregularities.
Brushing your dog’s teeth is a must-do & an integral part of dog dental care. But before that, here are some more serious issues which can be dealt with only by a vet and you should be careful about:
- Foul Breath
- Lack of interest in eating or chewing
- Irritated gums with swelling, redness or bleeding
- Brownish tartar deposit in the mouth
- Blisters or bumps
- Irritated pawing or scratching at mouth area
- Lack of energy
- Increased drooling
- Crooked, yellowing, broken or missing teeth
While the above-mentioned problems require professional attention, there are some thing you should take care of on a daily basis to make sure these dental health problems can be avoided:
Brushing should be a regular part of your dog’s schedule and should be as normal as playing or eating. It can be hard to build up a brushing habit as it is not something that comes naturally to them and they won’t like it, so you will have to be very patient with the process. You will need to introduce the idea slowly and gradually to them. Start by massaging his teeth with your fingers and when he gets used to that, introduce a doggy brush. Start with a few seconds and slowly increase the duration. Do all of this in a calm, happy environment. If he shows discomfort, stop immediately. But after a few weeks, he should be used to it. It is ideal to have your dog’s teeth be brushed every day but every alternative day is good enough as well. Just go slow and be patient.
- Picking the right toothpaste
It is extremely important that you do not use regular human toothpaste or toothbrush for your dogs. Their system, teeth strength and shape, are all very different from humans and thus they need specialised products. Additionally, most of our normal kinds of toothpaste have a substance called fluoride in them which is toxic for dogs. Doggy toothpaste is easily available at pet stores. Check the ingredients list and choose something with the maximum number of organic and natural materials as it is gentler for your dog’s teeth. Taste also becomes a determining factor as some are meat flavoured while others can be sweet or salty. You might have to try a few different ones until your dog chooses one he likes. Once you’ve settled on one, it’s time that he gets used to having the paste in his mouth. Try having him lick it a few times before you start brushing with it.
- Dry Food all the way
If you have an excessively stubborn dog that refuses to let any foreign object enter his mouth, let alone an annoying toothbrush, there are other measures you can take to encourage gum and teeth health. Soft, fleshy food is more likely to get caught up in his teeth or stick to the teeth and cause plaque build-up. On the other hand, dry, crunchy, harder kibble is better as not only he gets the chewing exercise he needs it also actually breaks down the existing plaque or tartar build-up.
- Bones and Toys
In any dog shop, you will find a number of plastic or synthetic toys in the shape of bones or other things. These are made for the specific purpose of strengthening your dog’s teeth and gums. As he chews on them, it gets rid of the build-up and also improves the strength of his teeth which is a long-term benefit. But be careful while choosing bones and toys as the material and size should be appropriate for your dog. Also, make sure that it does not have any hard or sharp edges that can injure the gums or break teeth.
- Start early
All dental hygiene habits should be implemented from a young age. Although they can be introduced later too, the basic teeth development happens in the early years and it is vital to have a good schedule and habits right from that age. It is also easier to introduce puppies to certain ideal behaviours while older dogs might be more stubborn when it comes to new kinds of foods or activities like brushing.
If your pet indeed has an odour problem, Here are a few tips for getting it under control.