As pet owners, we make sure that we take care of our little, furry creatures to the best of our abilities. Be it quality food, routine checkups, or just pampering them with love; we give them our all. However, when it comes to their oral hygiene, pet owners can often get ignorant or lazy, and that’s not a good habit to give in to.
Dogs tend to display bad breath, which is a natural thing. While at times it’s just a part of their oral package, it could also be related to some dental issues that your dog may or may not be facing. Statistics suggest that 80% of the dogs over the age of agree are affected by some sort of dental disease. In fact, annual dental cleaning procedures should be initiated at the age of one or two, as recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).
Tips to Look After Your Dog’s Dental Health
It’s true that a dog’s dental health is much better a human’s; however, if not given proper attention, it can deteriorate. Dental issues in a dog can also lead to health issues related to the heart, liver, and kidney. Therefore, along with regular cleaning, it’s best to allow your vet to look around for periodontal diseases and infections.
In order to ensure that your dog’s dental health stays protected, here are some tips to look after it:
· Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Brushing your dog’s teeth may sound like the most basic suggestion, but it’s also the most important one, as it helps in preventing the formation of plaque. Obviously, your dog won’t be too fond of the idea, which is why you need to make him/her get used to the process early on.
Don’t overdo it initially. Perhaps pick a time when your dog will willingly sit still, like post an exercise session. It’s okay if you dog doesn’t let you brush it all at the same time. You can even go for it twice or thrice a week; or brush one half one day and the other half the next day, if that’s what your dog prefers.
You need to get a toothpaste made especially for dogs, as the ones for humans contain chemicals that are toxic to pets. Since dog toothpaste usually comes in a delicious peanut butter or chicken flavor, it should not be too difficult to make your dog get used to the process. Make sure to speak to them calmly during the process, and throwing in a few treats or a reward afterwards can’t hurt either.
· Go for Professional Cleanings
Going for a professional cleaning to the vet is one of the safest ways of keeping your dog’s dental hygiene and health in check. The presence of dental tartar and disease can be checked and cured only through such meetings with the veterinarian. These treatments can also include the removal of one or multiple teeth in order to prevent infections from spreading, and other health problems, too.
When you take your dog to the vet for an annual examination, the doctor will look for any signs that indicate bad dental health or dental diseases, such as yellow-brown tartar or reddened gums. An x-ray can also be recommended to look for any diseases that could be hiding in the bones or below the gum line. These dental examinations and x-rays are performed under full sedation, and in case any evidence of dental disease crops up, a dental cleaning becomes vital.
The anesthesia offered to pets these days is immensely safe, and allow you to get your pet’s teeth checked without you having to worry about them sitting still. While dental cleanings are advised on a yearly basis, you should work out the details with your vet to stay on top of things as far as your canine friend’s dental hygiene is concerned.
· Use Dog Dental Treats
Dental treats are a sweet and subtle way to get your dog to willingly keep their teeth in good shape. They’re created to remove any plaque buildup, and also contain elements that aid in cleaning your dog’s mouth and freshening their breath.
Since dogs definitely like them more than toothbrushes or tooth wipes, they serve as a good alternative when your dog just doesn’t want to get his/her teeth brushed. They are also available in numerous shapes, sizes, and flavors, so, you are sure to find something your dog can get used to.
· Offer Different Chew Toys
There are various kinds of chew products out there, and most of them have teeth-cleaning properties. When you’re shopping for such chews, look for ones that have the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal. This seal indicates that the product is in accordance with the standards that have been pre-set for effectiveness in terms of controlling tartar and plaque in dogs.
Regardless of what your dog is chewing on, the act of gnawing in itself scrapes off the plaque from a dog’s teeth. In fact, several all-natural treats created from meat have enzymes that aid in promoting good dental health among dogs. Go for bully sticks, cow ears, and chicken strips as these are healthy chew treats. There are even ones with no calories, such as long-lasting rubber or nylon chews, that you can buy for your dog.
You need to keep checking your dog’s teeth every now and then for signs of plaque, tartar, and damaged or broken teeth. In addition to keeping their physical health in check, their oral health should be given equal importance. While the vet will take care in terms of dental cleanings and oral examinations, you, too, should do your part by cleaning your dog’s teeth as regularly as possible, and giving them treats and chew toys that will promote good dental health.