Ugh dog breath, eww...stinky mouth! it has become synonymous as a commonplace dog trait. But do you know that a strong smell may be a sign of a dental illness? You don’t have to wait to see the signs of this in an older dog, but a 3 year old young one can also show these signs of bad breath, tartar, plaque, all that can potentially turn into more dangerous conditions for the pet. Periodontal illnesses are increasing in dogs and per the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of the dogs under the age of 3 will have improper dental conditions. Not just tooth loss, it can also lead to painful abscesses and systemic infections throughout your dog’s body which creates an increased risk of permanent jaw damage and heart disease. So, how do we ensure our dogs have great teeth?
- Brushing! Yes, like us humans, dogs’ teeth can be brushed. But please don’t rush to your pantry to pick out a tube of paste, there are toothpastes made specifically for dogs (chicken or peanut butter flavours for instance) and oh, by the way, there are specific toothbrushes made for dogs - there are varying sizes depending on the size and age of the dog. For smaller pets, thimble-like toothbrushes work while larger size dogs can get dog toothbrushes. Like getting the nail trimmed, we would recommend getting the dog accustomed to having your fingers, toothbrushes and the taste of the toothpaste in his mouth.
- Dog teeth wipes - Although they are not able to get into the tiny nooks and crannies that a brush does, these are good alternatives to toothbrushes if your dog isnt liking the idea of a toothbrush. Tooth wipes are made to be rubbed against your dog’s teeth to help remove plaque.
- Dog dental treats and chews: treats are made specifically to remove plaque buildup and often contain ingredients that freshen breath and clean your dog’s mouth. Chews work in similar fashion and are great alternatives to brushing. These do come in different shapes and sizes, but be careful about the number of such treats you hand to your dog as these can easily pile on the calories. Sometimes nylon chew toys can also do the trick and come with no calories!
- Raw bones: These are generally not the edible kind, but the type that are used more for mental stimulation and engagement. These raw bones, with some muscle or soft tissue around them work similar to brushing teeth thus helping reduce the appearance of tartar. In these cases as with chews, remember to supervise your dog so they do not swallow a large piece and choke on the bones/chews.
- Lastly, the best way to ensure your dog’s oral health is to have him undergo regular professional inspections by a veterinarian who can identify any issues that may be present in the dental health of your pet.
If you’d like to learn how to get your dog used to getting it's teeth brushed, do give us a buzz!