Updated: Jun 21, 2022
Taking care of your dog’s teeth and giving them a healthy diet can decrease their risk of oral diseases later. Untreated dental disease can cause tooth loss and other painful infections in your dog’s body.
1. The Breath Test
Bad breath can be a common sign of oral disease in your dog. It's natural for your dog's breath not to smell great. But if your dog’s breath is overwhelming, it may be caused by periodontal disease or decaying teeth.
2. Visual check
Checking in on your dog’s gums and teeth every few weeks will help you know what’s going on in their mouth. Their gums should be pink. If they are white, red, or swollen, you might want to schedule a visit to the vet. Their teeth should be clean without brown tartar build-up.
3. Signs of Oral Disease
Dental disease can cause a lot of pain in your dog. After years of tartar, plaque, and bacteria build up, your dog could have an infection, inflammation, or decaying tooth. Dogs often don't show pain, so it may go unnoticed. If your pet is increasingly irritable and lethargic and doesn’t want to eat, it may be a sign that they have oral disease. Tooth decay can happen over time. It starts with plaque building up and hardening into tartar. Untreated tartar and plaque build-up below the gum line can be difficult to remove and damages the tooth. Untreated tooth decay and infection can lead to periodontal disease. This can be life threatening to your dog. Brushing regularly and managing your dog’s oral health can prevent tooth decay.
4. Canine Tooth-Brushing
Brushing your dog’s teeth might not be something you’re aware you need to do. But it can be a great way to prevent plaque build-up. Unlike humans, you don’t need to brush their teeth daily. Your dog may not like having their teeth brushed at first but making a routine out of it and getting them excited can help.
You’ll need to use a dog toothbrush or a fingertip toothbrush for the brushing. You’ll also need dog-specific toothpaste. Do not use human toothpaste, due to the chemical's toxicity to dogs. Your vet can advise you on the right tools for brushing. The most important part of brushing your dog’s teeth is removing plaque from their gum line. The following tips will help you have the best brushing experience with your dog:
Introduce the toothpaste to your dog by letting them lick it from your fingers.
Add toothpaste to the toothbrush and start brushing.
Take it slow and move from the front to the back and the top to the bottom.
Reward and praise along the way.
Teeth brushing is the foundation of good oral health. After your dog has learned to tolerate brushing, trying to do it once a day will be most effective. Brushing once a day can reduce future dental cleanings from the vet later.
5. Know Your Mouth Disorders
Dental disease begins early. By adulthood, many dogs have some degree of dental issues. Early signs of dental disease include bad breath, yellow or brown tartar build-up on teeth, and red and swollen gums. Noticing early can help alleviate your dog’s pain quickly. Dental disease can cause chronic pain in your dog that may go unnoticed.
Similar dental problems that happen in people can happen in dogs. Common problems include broken teeth and roots, periodontal disease, infected or abscessed teeth, tumors in the mouth, and teeth misalignment.
Chew toys are great ways for your dog to relieve boredom and satisfy their instinct to chew. Gnawing on chew toys is a natural way for dogs to clean their teeth. The constant chewing scrapes plaque from their teeth. Make sure to rotate and monitor safe chew toys.
Ask you vets advice about chew and toys that are good for oral hygiene.
7. Diet for Healthy Teeth
There’s not one perfect diet for every dog. Your veterinarian can help you determine the right diet for your dog. Keeping your dog healthy is more important than choosing wet food or dry food. If your dog has continued trouble with plaque build-up, there are special formula dry dog foods that control plaque and tartar.
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