Dental health plays a fundamental role in your dog's overall health, so it's important to take steps to keep your pet's teeth and gums healthy. Follow these tips from our Seattle vets to help improve your dog's dental health.
Tips For Improving Your Dog's Dental Health
A healthy mouth is an important factor in your pup's overall health. Dental disease can lead to tooth pain and infections which could result in your dog refusing to eat, losing their zest for life and becoming generally unwell.
To help prevent your pup from developing dental health problems try these easy tips from our vets at Northgate Veterinary Clinic.
1. Daily Brushing & Oral Hygiene
We know that this sounds far-fetched but if your dog will tolerate it, brushing their teeth every day is the best at-home dental care you can give them. To slow or prevent the plaque and tartar build-up that can lead to dental disease, aim for 5 times a week.
Start by getting a toothbrush for dogs and a special pet toothpaste that won’t make them sick. Slowly introduce them to the process and be patient until they become more comfortable with the routine. (If your pet is struggling to adjust or the process is stressful, speak to your vet about other methods of keeping their teeth clean at home.)
Use a small amount of the pet toothpaste, brush gently in a circular motion, and (if your pet allows it), aim for 30-60 seconds on each side of their mouth. Make sure you reward your dog for their good behavior so that they associate tooth brushing with positive reinforcement.
2. Don't Forget the Gums!
As with humans, your dog's oral health may benefit from gentle gum massage while you're cleaning their teeth. Signs of tooth decay usually begin with red or inflamed gums, so this is also a good opportunity to monitor your pet's gum health.
3. Try A Dental Diet for Your Pet
Your vet can provide you with specific recommendations for dental diet foods that could be effective for helping to improve the health of your dog's mouth.
There are many high-quality dry foods for dogs that are formulated to control plaque build-up on their teeth and inside their mouths. This is usually made up of larger pieces of kibble fibers aligned similarly to toothbrush bristles, to clean your pet's teeth while they are eating. These special foods can also potentially slow the progression of dental disease.
4. Offer Your Furry Friend Dental Treats & Chews
Your vet's advice will be helpful here, as there is a huge variety of dental treats and chews that can reduce plaque but cannot prevent it. Trained, experienced veterinarians can give advice about which products will be helpful for your dog.
5. Get Your Pet Dental Chew Toys
Your pet's dental and oral health can benefit greatly from play-time! Most pet supply stores sell a wide range of toys created specifically for your dog to play with and chew on. These toys are made to clean the teeth by removing plaque and discouraging tartar buildup.
6. Make Sure Your Pet Has Fresh, Clean Water
Ensuring that your pup has access to clean, fresh water every day is another easy way to help them maintain their oral and overall health. Drinking water helps to wash away food debris and bacteria from your pet's mouth after they eat, which lessens the likelihood of them developing gingivitis and experiencing discomfort.
7. Stinky Breath Isn't Normal!
While your dogs' breath likely can't be described as minty-fresh they should not have chronic bad breath if they are in good health. It's important not to ignore things like noticeably bad breath when your animal companion barks, or yawns right in your face. Beyond being unpleasant, it could be a sign of underlying oral health issues.
8. Don't Skip Dental Check-Ups.
It's imperative to your dog overall health and longevity (and avoiding extensive vet bills down the road to treat advanced oral health issues) to take your pet in for their annual dental health check. These visits provide your vet with an opportunity to evaluate your pet’s dental health and should start early before the your pup begins developing dental problems.
9. Professional Veterinary Dental Cleanings
Part of your dog's dental check-up will likely include scaling (removal or build-up and tartar from the tooth's surface and below the gum line) and polishing under anesthesia. This cleaning not only makes your dog's teeth appear cleaner but also gives your veterinary team a chance to closely observe any emerging or ongoing dental issues.
10. Have Dental Problems Treated Right Away
If your dog has chronic bad breath, gingivitis or advanced gum disease, or other dental conditions, your vet may recommend a number of available dental treatments or remove damaged, rotting, or otherwise troublesome teeth. Treating dental problems as early as possible can help to prevent more severe issues from arising and could save you money in the long run.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.