Why Dog Dental Care Is Important
As children, we learned the importance of brushing our teeth. Should we fail to properly care for our pearly whites, we face the consequences – cavities, tooth decay, and expensive dental bills. Unfortunately for our dogs, they cannot make the decision to look after their teeth, the responsibility falls to us as pet parents to manage every aspect of their health. Sadly, many dogs are not on a proper dental care routine, in fact over 80% of dogs over the age of three are found to have active dental disease! Maintaining good dental care for your dog starting at an early age is important in order to prevent them from becoming another part of this statistic.
What Is Dental Disease?
Dental disease, or periodontal disease, affects the teeth, gums and structures that support and surround a dog’s teeth. It begins with the buildup of food particles and bacteria on the teeth. This forms a film over the teeth called plaque, which can become calcified by the calcium in your pet’s saliva. The calcified plaque is called tartar, and this can lead to gingivitis and infections in the roots of the teeth.
Reasons Dog Dental Care Is Important
The following are preventable issues that can arise with the lack of proper dental hygiene.
- Bad Breath: Also known as halitosis, bad breath can have many causes, but the most notable cause is periodontal disease. A foul odor emits from the buildup of plaque bacteria on the teeth. Bad news for you if your puppy loves to smooch!
- Tooth Loss: Teeth can loosen and fall out when the structures supporting them become damaged or infected. This may make eating quite painful and difficult for your doggie.
- Organ Damage: Bacteria in plaque can cause infection and even enter the bloodstream and spread to the organs. Organ damage is no joke, this is putting your pup’s life at risk.
With many dogs having dental disease by the age of 3, it can be difficult to prevent it if you didn’t care for them from puppy age. However, you can prevent dental disease from becoming severe and causing the issues listed above. Just like dental care for people, you should regularly brush your dog’s teeth and get them a deep dental cleaning at least once a year.
Symptoms of Dental Disease
- Inflamed Gums
- Loose Teeth
- Broken Teeth
- Bad Breath
- Bleeding Mouth
- Refusal to eat and drink due to pain
What Can I Do To Care For My Dog’s Teeth?
Here are a few options you can do to keep up with your pup’s dental hygiene:
1. Brush your dog’s teeth. Brushing at least a few days a week is a great way to maintain a healthy mouth. Introduce them to pet friendly toothpaste by allowing them to lick some off of the brush. Brush just the front teeth the first few times, and expand to all the teeth as they get more comfortable. Make sure to give them words of encouragement, and perhaps a treat after the brushing. If you’re having trouble doing it on your own, you can also make an appointment with our groomer for a teeth cleaning!
2. Give them dental treats and/or dental toys. This is a good way to help remove some plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth. Speak with your vet to make sure your dog’s teeth are sturdy enough for these options.
3. Dental gel and water additive oral products. Although these aren’t as effective as brushing, these products help kill some of the bacteria in your dog’s mouth, as well as freshen their breath.
4. Deep dental cleanings. During these cleanings a veterinarian will use dental tools to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth. Then they follow up with a special polishing paste that smooths out any scratches in the enamel of the teeth. Veterinarians typically do this procedure while the dog is under general anesthesia, however there are non-anesthetic options through doggie dental companies as well. Anesthesia can run it’s own risks, especially for senior dogs where the risk outweighs the benefit, so it’s great to consider a non-anesthetic option if you’re worried about putting your pup through this. At DGW, we have a dental company come to both of our locations throughout the year, contact us if your pup’s teeth are overdue for a deep cleaning!
Although dental disease is very common in dogs, you can play your part in proper dental care to keep your pooch’s mouth as healthy as possible.