Did you know that most dogs are prone to periodontal disease by the age of three? Many pet owners underestimate the importance of their pet’s oral hygiene. They either don’t get the time to examine their pet’s teeth or find the whole thing completely unnecessary. Just like flossing and brushing are crucial for our oral hygiene, a proper oral care regime is important for your canine friends as well. Leaving dental care unattended can lead to serious health problems in animals. Moreover, animals’ anatomy is very different from humans. Dogs have a very vascular mouth. When bacteria accumulate in their mouth, it could spread to their internal organs causing serious health problems.
Fortunately, today there are many organizations and pet clinics that are creating awareness campaigns about the importance of pet dental care. Let’s take a look at some of the causes of dental problems in dogs and what you can do to help them.
- Retained Deciduous Teeth
Puppies have two sets of deciduous teeth. These teeth fall out when the puppy is around four months old, and are replaced by 48 adult teeth. In some cases, not all deciduous teeth fall off. This causes the permanent teeth to grow irregularly. Food deposits collected in between these teeth can lead to tooth decay, gingivitis, and other problems causing extreme pain and discomfort.
- Periodontal Disease
If your furry friend’s teeth are not brushed regularly, food particles and bacteria will slowly accumulate in their gum line. This will soon turn into plaque. The plaque, tartar, and calculus accumulation can lead to gingivitis, bone loss, bad breath, tissue breakdown, and other dental issues in dogs.
Some breeds are prone to dental disease because of their genetics. Dachshunds, for instance, have narrower muzzles and tiny teeth, due to which they are prone to gingivitis and bad breath. Greyhounds usually have problems with their tooth enamel. If they are not given proper dental care, this could lead to infections and loss of teeth.
What Can You Do To Help Your Dog?
Dental health is crucial to the overall health and well-being of your dogs. The following guide can help you ensure that their dental hygiene is not overlooked.
- Brush Their Teeth Regularly
Make brushing a part of their daily routine. It could take a while, but you should be patient. Distract them with treats and get used to handling their jaws gently. You will easily find dog toothbrushes in your local pet store. Choose one with soft bristles that can reach every corner of their mouth easily. Never use human toothpaste for your dogs as most brands contain fluoride which is extremely toxic to animals. Since dogs don’t know how to spit out toothpaste, buy canine toothpaste which they can swallow.
- Use Tooth Wipes
Not all dogs allow their teeth to be brushed. You can use dog tooth wipes to remove food particles instead of a toothbrush. Though it doesn’t clean hard or reach areas like a toothbrush, it still does a good job.
- Introduce Them To Dental Treats
Today, there are many products made specifically for doggies’ dental care. You have treats which are made to control plaque and tartar buildup. Chewing on these goodies can get rid of bacteria accumulation and keep their mouths smelling fresh at all time. Visit www.vetiq.com to find products that your dog will love.
- Use Natural Or Toy Chews
It is a known fact that dogs love to chew. Gnawing on natural dog chews or chew toys make their teeth stronger and can help in cleaning their teeth to some extent.
- Examine Their Mouth Area
Dogs don’t show pain very easily. So, you must take out time to observe their mouth area, maybe during their bath-time. If you see any of the following symptoms, you should fix an appointment with your vet immediately.
- Bad breath
- Aversion to eating food
- Loose teeth
- Bleeding gums
- Blood on chew toys
- Chewing only using one side of the mouth
- Tilting head while eating
- Not allowing you to touch it when it eats
- Crying in pain
- Regular Veterinary Checks
Just like we get our teeth checked and cleaned regularly, you must also get your dog’s teeth checked, even if they’re in perfect condition. Find a vet who specializes in dental care.
- Change Their Diet
Sometimes what dogs eat could be causing dental problems. If they are used to eating dry food, you must change their diet to something healthier. Giving them raw meat and meaty bones is a good idea, as the enzymes present in these food items can help in breaking down plaque.