Why It Is Important to Maintain Your Dogs Dental Hygeine.
Just like us, your dog’s dental health is really important. Poor oral hygiene can lead to other health problems in your dog, which can be painful and costly.
There’s no need to get concerned, though. We compiled this article to help you learn more about doggy dental care and how to keep on top of it.
Why is it Important to Maintain good Oral Hygeine?
Good oral hygiene prevents the buildup of plaque – a combination of food particles and bacteria that form on the teeth. Plaque mineralises when it is combined with saliva which over a few days becomes tartar which is much harder and adheres to the tooth.
This causes gum irritation known as gingivitis, and this causes bad breath (halitosis) and redness/bleeding of the gums. Over a period of time, plaque and tartar get under the gum line and allows more bacteria in to grow, causing more destruction to surrounding tissues, periodontitis.
Periodontal disease is a combination of periodontitis and gingivitis. It is the most common dental condition in dogs, and it is estimated that 85% of dogs over 3 years old will suffer from this, at least mildly.
What Happens If We Don’t Care for Our Dogs Teeth?
- Like humans, dogs have baby teeth too. Sometimes, baby teeth can become retained and not want to fall out. This could lead to gum irritation and the buildup of tartar.
- Dental disease can cause other systemic health problems for your dog. When bacteria get in and cause peridontal disease, this leaves way for them to then enter the bloodstream and potentially affect the heart and other vital organs, just as it can in humans too.
- Poor teeth can cause problems chewing, and hence affect their diet.
- Poor oral hygiene is a cause of bad breath!
- Good dental hygiene doesn’t have to cost the earth or a lot of your time, but will probably save a lot of costly vet bills in the long run.
How Can Good Oral Hygiene be Maintained?
There are several ways to keep your dogs dentition happy. Think of it as you would your own oral health. We try and avoid eating the wrong foods, brush regularly, and take regular trips to the dentist. Now transfer that advice to our furry friends and you can’t go wrong:
- Regularly inspect inside your pets mouth. Tartar may appear like a brownish stain on the tooth near the gums. Red or bleeding gums is a sign of gingivitis. If your dog has bad breath or appears in discomfort i.e . pawing at his mouth, has missing teeth or can’t chew his food, get him checked out by the vet.
- Diet: some dog foods are specifically designed for better dentition, The Veterinary Oral Health Council (USA based) provides a list of approved dental diets and also treats, rawhide products and anti plaque products such as water additives and toothpastes. Dogs that are only fed soft, canned foods are more likely to have dental problems; the abrasive action of harder kibbles and chews for example, can help remove plaque from the teeth.
- Brushing your dog’s teeth is recommended, either with a finger brush or a soft toothbrush. Doggy toothpaste is available in flavours they may enjoy, like chicken (though don’t use human toothpaste as it can make your dog ill). If you start doing this from when they are a pup, it shouldn’t be too difficult to incorporate into your routine.
- Visit your vet routinely for a check up. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommend going at least once a year. Even with regular oral care, your dog may sometimes need a dental cleaning. A full dental cleaning by the vet will involve a general anaesthetic, so prevention of problems in the first instance is really a priority.
Keeping your dogs’mouth healthy and clean should be incorporated into their every day routine. Good oral hygiene is a sign of a healthy pet, and helps prevent disease in the long run. Poor oral hygiene can be painful and lead to frequent vet visits and expensive bills. Prevention is better than cure! Following our simple advice could really improve your pet’s well-being.