Dental Care for Dogs
Although approximately 98% of veterinarians advise dog owners to clean their dog's teeth regularly, only around 2% of owners actually do.
Anyone that has ever come into contact with a dog suffering from dental problems, knows the importance of proper dental care for dogs. Poor dental care not only causes bad breath, but can even lead to your dog losing teeth or molars. In extreme cases, bad dental hygiene can even cause serious health issues, as the bacteria in the oral cavity could travel to the heart, kidney or liver and cause infection.
Luckily, dental care is something that you can easily maintain at home, provided you use the right dental products.
How to Clean your Dog's Teeth?
Caring for your dog's oral hygiene is similar to caring for your own. Besides brushing teeth and molars, it is important to maintain a clean oral cavity and tend to the gums using specified products.
It is advisable that you use a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically designed for dogs. Toothpastes for dogs have a taste that they enjoy, which makes it easier for your dog to allow you to brush its teeth. You can start brushing your dog's teeth when they are still a puppy (approximately 8-12 weeks old), this will help getting them accustomed to it at an early age. Getting them accustomed to toothbrushing is a lot harder when they are older. Contrarily, some dogs may never get used to it.
To brush your dog's teeth, the mouth does not have to be opened completely, simply lift up the lip to gain access to the outside of the teeth and molars. This is the only part that needs to be brushed as the dog's tongue cleans the inside of the teeth and the molars grind together, keeping them clean.
Prevent Tartar Build-up
The more often you brush your dog's teeth, the faster your dog will get used to it. Brushing their teeth once or twice a week is enough to prevent the formation of tartar. If you experience any difficulties brushing your dog's teeth, visit your veterinarian for help and a detailed explanation.
Other Dental Care Products
Besides toothbrushes and toothpastes, there are different products available to improve your dog's oral hygiene, such as:
- Special cleaning wipes can be used between brushings, or if your dog doesn't tolerate toothbrushing
- Chew sticks remove a lot of the plaque and tartar build-up
- A great way to prevent the build-up of plaque, kill bacteria and keep your dog's breath fresh include powder supplements such as Orozyme Bucco-Fresh and liquids supplements such as Vet Aquadent
- Several brands have developed specific food to promote dental health
- And finally, there are several toys that help keep teeth clean and healthy
Your dog deserves healthy teeth! Find out which method works best for you and your dog and try to clean your dog's teeth at least once a week.
Veterinary Check Ups
It is important to have your dog's teeth checked by your veterinarian at least once a year, even if you use one or more of the aforementioned dental care methods. Contact your veterinarian as soon as you notice symptoms of poor hygiene, such as bad breath and inflamed/bleeding gums to prevent the problem from worsening.