As a proud owner of a puppy or adult dog, your job is to be part mom and dad, part playmate and part dentist. That’s because your dog’s dental health is just as important to its overall health as oral health is to your own. As you probably know, in humans, your dental health mirrors your overall health. That’s because good oral care can prevent things like heart disease.
If you don’t maintain positive dental health for your dog, she could have serious health problems as a result. Things like heart disease, kidney disease, and lung difficulties could develop due to poor oral health. Before you say “I know nothing about being a dentist!” relax. Since your dog isn’t able to do it himself, all you need to know is how to brush your dog’s teeth and use some other toys and treats to make it easier.
Brushing Teeth and Monitoring Health
Since the incidence of dental problems is very high in canines, the best way to help take care of your dog is to start early with regular brushing to prevent tartar from building up on gums.
Your dental routine should include monitoring your dog’s mouth periodically. You are looking to find out if gums are pink and look healthy. Buy a toothbrush made just for dogs. Brushing your dog’s teeth may seem like the hardest thing to start, but your dog will get used to the action if you keep at it.
Use toothpaste recommended by vets and never a fluoride-based brand meant for humans. Dog-specific brands have flavors that are appealing just to dosg, like chicken liver. (Always secure your toothpaste in a safe place so your children don’t mistake that liver paste for them!) Brush your dog’s teeth by lifting up the upper lip and using your finger to rub your dog’s gums in circles. This helps the dog get accustomed to the motion. Reinforce the brushing by giving the dog a treat when you finish, so the dog starts to associate good oral health with a yummy teeth.
When your dog is comfortable with the finger-brushing, start using a toothbrush. Again, brush in a circular motion on both the teeth and gum line. This is similar to the action you take for yourself. When finished, give your dog a treat and reward them with praise.
Supplement with Treats and Chews
Treats and tows can help maintain good oral health. Dental chews are a popular way to reduce plaque and tartar. A nice chew toy, bone, biscuit or similar toys also make a difference. The reason rawhide chews are a favorite is because it takes the dog some time to chew threw them. If you have a dog who destroys and eats chew toys too fast, opt for chew toys. Chew toys have small nubs that massage gums and loosen plaque.
When to Take Your Dog to the Vet
Dogs don’t normally have perfectly fresh breath. However, if you detect a seriously bad smell from your dog’s mouth, then it is probably time to take the dog to the vet. Watch out for other trouble signs, like decreased appetite, problems eating, frequent urination, vomiting, or increased thirst. This may mean your dog has a dental problem, such as a cavity or abscessed tooth.
If your dog does need a physician’s care, remember that this is normal for a dog. Experts estimate that up to 80% of dogs have dental disease. Your veterinarian will be able to give you advice about any concerns you might have about your dog’s teeth and gums. With a good routine, you can keep your dog in tip top shape.