Keeping your dog’s teeth clean and healthy is more important than you might think. Good oral hygiene helps ensure your beloved pet enjoys a high quality of life, and lowers the risk of serious health complications.
Just like with your own teeth, you need to be proactive when it comes to maintaining your dog’s dental health.
What happens if you don't look after your dog's teeth?
There are a number of different symptoms that indicate your dog’s oral hygiene is not quite up to standard. These vary from relatively mild to severe, including:
- Bad breath
- Difficulty chewing and eating
- Reduced appetite
- Pawing and rubbing at the mouth
- Yellow-brown tartar build up on teeth
- Bleeding gums
Get into the habit of checking your dog’s teeth once every week or two. If you notice any of these signs, it’s a good idea to get your dog to the vet. If left untreated, dog dental hygiene issues can lead to more serious problems like kidney and heart disease.
Tips for keeping your dog’s teeth clean and healthy
There are a few steps you can take to maintain good dental hygiene in your dog.
- Regular brushing. Just like a human, your dog needs regular brushing to remove plaque and prevent tartar build up. You can get special pet toothbrushes, although you might need to go slowly to get them used to the process. You can also buy special dog toothpaste to help freshen your pet’s breath. Never use human toothpaste on your dog as it can upset their stomach. Most dogs take a while to get used to having their teeth brushed, so it’s best to start off slowly, using a finger to get them used to the idea, before you switch to a toothbrush and toothpaste. Tooth wipes are another alternative to a toothbrush if your dog is resistant to having their teeth brushed.
- Dog treats and chews. As well as brushing your dog’s teeth yourself, you can also get dental dog treats and dry food that will help scrape the plaque off your dog’s teeth. Giving your pet a bone once every couple of weeks is great for their teeth and it also keeps them amused. Just make sure it’s not a cut bone as they can get caught between your dog’s teeth and cause problems.
- Professional cleaning at the vet. While taking your dog to the vet to have their teeth cleaned professionally might not necessarily be the cheapest option, it is probably the most effective. A vet can not only clean your dog’s teeth thoroughly, they can check for any underlying issues and treat them at the same time, ensuring your dog remains in optimum health.
Good dental hygiene is not just important for humans; it's essential for your dog to live a long and healthy life. With regular brushing at home and dental care from a vet when required, you can keep your pet’s teeth in top condition - and avoid dental-related health issues.