Dental Health in Dogs - Signs of Healthy Dog Gums and Teeth

Dental Health in Dogs - Signs of Healthy Dog Gums and Teeth

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It is vital to make sure that your dog maintains great oral health. Learn what signs to look for here.

If your dog has a regular tooth care regime, then you are on track to scoring an A+ when it comes to your petโ€™s dental health. Excellent oral health can lead to longer lives in dogs and will save them from preventable pain and discomfort. When you examine your dogโ€™s mouth, look for these signs that indicate strong teeth and gums.

Healthy Teeth

Dog teeth are typically white during puppyhood, and darken as dogs get older. Puppies start out with 28 baby teeth that fall out around six months, and are replaced with a total of 42 adult teeth. Healthy teeth are not chipped or cracked, and do not show signs of deterioration. Brown or yellow film by your dogโ€™s gum line or visible deterioration are signs of poor dental health, and should be addressed before the buildup worsens.

Healthy Gums

Healthy dog gums should be firm, and can range in color from pink to black. Some dog gums are spotted, which is also normal. Healthy gums are never swollen or discolored. Puffy red or white sections on the gums are signs of periodontal disease.

Healthy Breath Odor

Dog breath isnโ€™t known for being the freshest thing youโ€™ll ever smell. All dogs have some amount of odor to their breath, so itโ€™s normal to smell your petโ€™s breath when it yawns or breathes on you. Healthy dogs, however, wonโ€™t clear out a room with their stinky breath. If your petโ€™s breath changes or worsens, then it could be a sign of dental issues.

Healthy Tongues

Canine tongues vary in color from pink to blue-black to speckled. You will not find cysts or lumps on or under healthy dog tongues. If your dogโ€™s tongue fades, changes color, or has ulcerations, it could be a sign of a larger problem such as lack of oxygen that is not likely due to dental health.

Healthy Dental Health Behaviors

Dogs with healthy teeth and gums will take part in normal activities that involve chewing without hesitation or sensitivity. Mealtime and eating will not be an issue for them, and theyโ€™ll seek out opportunities to chew on snacks and toys like Dura Chew for dogs and TireBiter Flyer regularly. Dogs who struggle with eating, chew on one side of the mouth, show difficulty picking up food, or have noticeable change in chewing and eating behaviors may have oral health issues.

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Dog's Dental Health

Unless your dog has a seriously bad case of doggie breath, their dental health needs may fly under your radar. However, poor oral hygiene can lead to both tooth loss and periodontal disease in dogs, which in turn may also affect their livers, hearts, and kidneys if the bacteria spreads through the bloodstream.

Here are five simple ways you can help keep their chompers healthy and strong.

1. Start a dental routine

Just like humans, dogs benefit greatly from brushing their teeth. All dogs develop tartar and plaque, which will lead to more serious tooth issues if left alone. Daily tooth brushing is safe and recommended for dogs, but if a daily routine is not feasible, brushing your dogโ€™s teeth at least once per week will yield satisfactory results. Choose a dog toothbrush that is comfortable and safe for your pet, and make sure to use toothpaste and rinses specifically formulated for dogs. When brushing your dogโ€™s teeth, check for debris caught in the gums and signs of tooth decay.

2. Set up regular dental exams

Cleaning your dogโ€™s teeth will help control plaque and tartar, but regular brushing wonโ€™t get everything. Veterinarians recommend that dogs receive an oral exam and professional cleaning once per year. Dental cleanings by vets provide a deeper cleaning of bacteria that builds up below the gum line. In order to do a thorough cleaning, vets must anesthetize the dog during the procedure. Some pet owners are squeamish when they hear that anesthesia will be administered, though it is a regular procedure. Talk to your vet about why dental cleanings are important for you dog and about the process.

3. Get your dog chewing

Chewing is a natural behavior in dogs - one that can also benefit their oral hygiene. Chew toys and ropes, bones, rawhide, and chews provide friction along the gumline and act as natural flossers. Provide your dog with chew toys like Booda Bone that are an appropriate size and shape, and let them start chomping their way to healthier teeth. Be sure to replace chew materials when they are worn, and provide durable toys and bones to aggressive chewers. If your dog has sensitive teeth, try latex toys and other softer chewing materials.

4. Monitor your dogโ€™s diet

Diet can factor into overall dental health in a variety of ways. Make sure to feed your pets nutritionally balanced dog food. If tooth health is an issue, try using specially formulated dry foods that donโ€™t crumble as easily to wear away plaque and tartar with chewing. Other dog foods such as Hill's Prescription Diet Dental Care or Royal Canin Veterinary Dental Dog Food inhibit bacteria growth and the formation of plaque. Talk to your vet before making a major change to your dogโ€™s diet, and make sure to choose dental health food that has the Veterinary Oral Health Care (VOHC) seal. Avoid feeding your pooch table food, especially scraps that are high in carbs and sugars. And since dogs tend to eat pretty much anything, make sure your pets do not have access to trash, yard debris, or anything else they shouldnโ€™t be munching on.

5. Try dental dog treats

Like chew toys, treats designed to promote oral health through the mechanical action of chewing help reduce plaque and tartar. Look for treats that have the VOHC seal as they have been tested and proven to reduce plaque and tartar. Dental dog treats come in a variety of sizes, shapes, textures, and flavors, and you can find all-natural options that do not have added colors or flavors. Though these treats are good for dogsโ€™ teeth, they should still be considered snack foods and not be eaten in abundance.

Follow these five tips, and your dog will be on their way to having a very healthy mouth. Your pet will be thanking you each time they flash you that canine smile!

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by,your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.

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