Many dog owners want to take good care of their dogs, but they neglect an important aspect of canine health: tooth care. It’s common sense that if you want a healthy dog, you need to provide it with food, water, shelter, regular walks, and plenty of affection. But how many dog owners are out there brushing their companion’s teeth?
Keeping your dog’s teeth in better health and in better shape can prolong your dog’s lifespan and keep it happier – and it’s a lot easier to manage than you might think.
Why Is Tooth Care So Important for Dogs?
It might not seem like tooth care is an important aspect of your dog’s health. After all, there are plenty of wild dogs roaming around without any dental supervision and their teeth remain in decent condition. Dental care also isn’t commonly discussed amongst dog owners, making it an unfamiliar and relatively unknown subject.
But the reality is, many dogs are quietly suffering from neglected dental care. In fact, by three years old, most dogs exhibit at least some signs of periodontal disease. If left unchecked, plaque buildup and gum disease can gradually become rampant, leading to abscessed teeth and other significant problems. Not only are these extremely painful complications for a dog to go through, but they could also shorten your dog’s lifespan.
Proper dental care involves preventing the buildup of plaque, addressing plaque buildup, and responding to issues before they become any more severe. The strategies that follow are your best approach to handling this.
Pay Attention to Troubling Signs
One of the best things you can do is pay attention to troubling signs that your dog’s dental health is in jeopardy. Recognizing problems and proactively taking action can minimize the risk of those problems becoming more complicated.
· Bad breath. Your dog’s natural breath might not be very pleasant, but it should at least be tolerable. If it’s breath becomes significantly worse over time, it’s important to evaluate your dog for any possible dental issues.
· Discoloration. You should also pay attention to any discoloration on the teeth and gums. These can be warning signs of deeper problems developing.
· Deterioration. You may also notice forms of deterioration in and around your dog’s mouth. If you notice any broken teeth, it’s important to take your dog to the vet immediately.
· A change in behavior. Dogs who are suffering from abscessed teeth or other severe dental issues will display a noticeable change in behavior. They may act like it’s painful to eat or maybe lethargic in general.
Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Just like with humans, tooth brushing is the best way to prevent dental disease. Consider brushing your dog’s teeth gently every day, and if you can’t do that, make it a point to brush their teeth at least once a week.
Employ Dog Dental Treats
Dental treats for dogs are designed to be good for your dog’s teeth. Your dog will enjoy the experience of gnawing away at the chew, and they’ll probably love the flavor. All the while, material and special compounds within the treat will chip away at the plaque on the exterior of the teeth. Giving these treats is much simpler and much less of a hassle than brushing your dog’s teeth manually, making it a valuable option for busy dog owners.
Similarly, almost any chew can be valuable for clearing dental plaque – including cow ears, bully sticks, and even rubber and nylon toys.
Utilize Tooth Wipes
Toothbrushing can be an uncomfortable situation for both you and your dog, but it’s incredibly effective at removing plaque. If you’re looking for an alternative solution to this, you can try utilizing tooth wipes. These specialized wipes are designed to help remove plaque buildup and prevent tooth decay – and they’re much easier to wield than a toothbrush.
Take Your Dog to the Vet – and Get Professional Cleanings
You also need to take your dog to the vet on a regular basis and follow your vet’s advice for regular professional dental cleanings. A dental cleaning can be expensive, costing you hundreds of dollars, but most veterinarians recommend getting your dog’s teeth cleaned professionally at least once a year.
If you can’t afford to clean your dog’s teeth professionally every year, make it a point to provide better dental care to your dog at home and get a professional cleaning at least once every few years.
Your dog can’t tell you that it’s experiencing a toothache, nor is it going to brush its teeth on its own. If you want to keep your dog’s teeth in good health, and keep your dog happy and pain free, it’s essential that you follow these strategies and provide better dental care.