Dogs Dental Hygiene for Dogs

Published on December 1st, 2017 | by Debbie Martin


Dental hygiene for dogs, its important too!!

Dental hygiene for dogs is important, just like humans, dogs should visit the vets for regular dental checks. They are prone to tooth disease in the same way that humans are. When we visit the dentist we often see the hygienist and similarly, when you take your dog to visit the vet for a dental check, a qualified nurse can examine your dog’s teeth and help you to understand ways of maintaining good canine dental hygiene rather taking an appointment with the veterinarian.

Plaque Problems

Good canine oral health doesn’t just mean keeping your dog’s teeth looking clean and healthy, and the consequences of tooth disease are not limited to the mouth. If your dog has developed plaque, this can have a detrimental effect on the rest of their body. As is the case with humans, if there is inflammation in the gums, the plaque can enter the dog’s bloodstream and travel all the way to the vital organs. Plaque is the sticky coating of bacteria that can be found on the gums, teeth and tongue. The bacteria and acid within the plaque can erode the teeth and gums.  This plaque will eventually turn into tartar, this is what happens when the plaque solidifies. The more tartar your dog has in their mouth, the greater the potential problems that can occur. By ridding your dog of the plaque in the first place you are able to prevent problems arising in the future and the potential deterioration of your dog’s oral health.

What to look for

It is useful to know what to look for and how to spot the signs of potential dental issues in your dog. You may notice bad breath, this can be caused by plaque and the sulphur smell produced by the plaque bacteria. Swollen gums, which may bleed can indicate tartar forming on your dog’s teeth. You may also notice that your dog is drooling more. If you spot any of these symptoms then it’s worth seeing a vet. If your dog is reluctant to eat this could be due to pain in the mouth. A dog with a painful mouth will appear very grumpy and even depressed and he may not wish you to stroke his face. Look out for changes in behaviour and consider oral problems to be a cause. Again, a trip to the vet is advised.

Brushing your dog’s teeth

Toothpaste and toothbrushes are not just for humans! Using a toothbrush for your dog will promote good oral hygiene. It’s also worth giving different diets a try if you are worried about the state of your dog’s teeth and gums. Diets that are beneficial to teeth include food that is the right size and texture to help the cleaning process of the teeth. Also worth a try are chewy snacks and products that can be added to your dog’s drinking water. Dogs not only enjoy chews as treats but chews will help to minimise the build-up of plaque on the teeth. Seaweed products are often used successfully to keep your dog’s teeth healthy. In particular, seaweed products that are added to water. These products combat plaque as well as bad breath so an all-round helpful addition to your dog’s diet. All of these products are readily available in our online store.

If you become aware of a plaque build-up on your dog’s teeth you should try to brush their teeth. It’s really important to use toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs though as the fluoride in human toothpaste can be detrimental to a dog’s health. If you’ve never tried this before, your dog will be unfamiliar with the sensation of having their teeth brushed and may resist or even try to bite it. If this is the case begin using brushing motions with a finger and introduce a toothbrush slowly after that. Rewarding good behaviour when they allow you to brush their teeth will help the process.

When you begin to introduce toothpaste into the brushing process, allow the dog to lick a little bit from your finger before you put it into his mouth. This will allow the dog to find out that the substance isn’t anything to be concerned about and to get used to the taste. You can even use a fingertip to rub it into the dog’s teeth and gums before using a toothbrush. If you wet the toothbrush before use it will make it easier to move around the dog’s mouth. Begin by brushing his front and canine teeth if you can get to them and then work your way towards the back covering as many teeth as you can. If your dog resists the brushing, try again later. Getting the cleaning done correctly using small steps is better than making the dog wary of the process and resisting you next time you try to do it again. Try to clean your dog’s teeth daily if possible.

Start them young

You will find it easier to brush your dog’s teeth if you start the training young. Cleaning a puppy’s teeth, although it may not seem entirely necessary will make it much easier as your dog matures and becomes more set in his ways. Cleaning your dog’s teeth with a toothbrush is the single most effective way to rid teeth of plaque, so finding a way to do it successfully is crucial. Rewarding good behaviour when your dog complies, with chewy toys and chewy treats is a great idea and can work in harmony with brushing to keep your dog’s teeth healthy. Try to see your vet at least once a year to have your dog’s teeth checked out and that way you’ll know that the dental routines that you are following are working well for your pet. Obviously, if you have any other dental concerns in the meantime then make an appointment with a vet to check out what’s going on. Early intervention is key to ensuring good oral health in your dog.

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About the Author

Debbie has worked for Beeston Animal Health for a number of years and although generally involved with the marketing these days she has a great deal of knowledge on many things to do with small animals.

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