Are your dog’s teeth pearly white?
If not, you are not alone. Over 80 percent of dogs and cats will have dental disease by the age of three. It is one of the most common problems that veterinarians encounter. But it can all be avoided with proper oral hygiene.
Dogs cannot brush their own teeth, so it falls on the parents to make sure their teeth stay plaque free. You may be thinking, “My dog does not want anything in his mouth that is not food.” Well, there are many ways to keep your dog’s teeth clean.
Plaque can build up and cause periodontal disease, just like it does in humans. Plaque collects at the gum line and causes the gum to separate from the tooth. The separation will then become infected with bacteria. The bacteria from the infection will enter the bloodstream and cause serious health problems and pain. Periodontal disease has been linked to kidney, liver, lung, and heart disease. The good news is that the plaque and infection can be cleared up with regular brushing before it turns into periodontal disease.
However, some breeds are predisposed to dental disease. Toy breeds and short-nosed breeds are more susceptible, because their teeth are more crowded. They need to have extra care to avoid plaque build-up. A yearly dental inspection by a vet is recommended for all dogs.
Signs Of Dental Disease
– red inflamed gums
– plaque on teeth, yellow teeth
– smelly breath
– bleeding gums
– pus under the gum line
– loose teeth
So if you think your dog is in the early stages of dental disease, here is what to do.
Ways To Prevent Dental Disease At Home
The tried and true, toothbrush and toothpaste. Daily brushing is recommended as the best way to prevent plaque buildup and to maintain optimum oral health. You are already an expert at brushing your teeth, so just get Fido his own brush and you can do his too. Purchase a dog-appropriate toothpaste that can be swallowed. This may take some patience on your end, but the payoff is healthy teeth and gums for your dog. Be sure you brush the gum line well, since this is where plaque likes to live.
Chew sticks are great for dental health. Bully sticks are always a dog favorite. You could try something new like Aussie Naturals Fish Cartilage Dog Chew. It is a win-win! You get to relax and read a book, while Fido chews to his delight and dental health.
Does your dog inhale his food without chewing? Well, this food bowl is the solution. The bowl is a slow-feeder, which makes your dog slow down and chew. It also has bristles that rub against your dog’s teeth and gums as he eats. It reduces the amount of plaque buildup.
For dogs that refuse to have a toothbrush in their mouth, there are tooth and gum wipes that can assist in removing plaque. It is still recommended that you use them daily.
No matter what method works best for you and Fido, it is important to be consistent and to perform it daily. Good oral hygiene will keep your dog healthy and happy. Now that is something to smile about.
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Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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