Maintaining your dog's dental health is essential to a dog’s overall health and well-being. Just like humans, dogs can develop problems with their teeth and gums if proper care is not taken. It’s crucial to understand how detrimental and uncomfortable dental disease can be for your dog.
According to the RSPCA, by the age of three, 80% of dogs will have developed some form of dental disease. So let’s take a closer look at what dental disease looks like and what preventative measures we can take as owners.
What is dental disease in dogs?
Dental disease, also known as periodontal disease is caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth which can lead to inflammation and infection of the gums. If left untreated, dental disease can cause serious problems, including tooth loss, pain, and even systemic infections.
What are the signs of dental disease?
- Bad breath. Bad breath in dogs is often overlooked and considered normal, however, it may be an indication of various health problems, particularly dental disease.
- Discoloured or loose teeth
- Inflamed gums
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in behaviour
- Bloody or “ropey” saliva
What are the preventative measures to take?
Brush your dog's teeth
Establishing a dental hygiene routine with your dog is crucial in preventing dental disease. This involves brushing your dog's teeth at least once a week, however once a day is definitely more beneficial. It is important to start brushing your dog's teeth from an early age so they get used to the process. However, it is never too late to start looking after your dog's dental hygiene.
It is ideal to brush your dog's teeth when they are in a calm and relaxed state, using a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically made for dogs. Using human toothpaste can be harmful to dogs, whereas toothpaste made specifically for dogs often has a poultry flavour to make the experience more enjoyable for your pet. Make sure to wash the toothbrush thoroughly after each use to avoid any bacteria build-up, and replace the toothbrush every three months.
An alternative to using a toothbrush for brushing your dog's teeth is to use tooth wipes for dogs. While tooth wipes may not reach all the crevices as effectively as a toothbrush, they are still an adequate method for removing plaque and tartar from teeth and gums.
Dental Chew Toys
Another way to maintain your dog's dental health is by providing them with dental chew toys, which can aid in reducing or delaying the buildup of plaque and tartar.
Dental Water Additive
There are various oral solutions that can aid in reducing plaque and tartar buildup. These solutions are added to your dog's water bowl, they are usually tasteless and provide an easy way to maintain your dog's oral health.
Keep your dog's dishes clean
A simple yet effective way to improve oral hygiene in your dog is by regularly cleaning their food and water bowls. Dirty dishes tend to accumulate bacteria and germs, which can affect your dog's oral health.
By implementing these preventative measures into your dog's routine, you can help in maintaining your dog's dental health, and subsequently, improving their overall well-being. It's important to remember that dental care should be an ongoing effort and to always keep an eye out for any signs of dental disease. With proper dental care, you can ensure your furry friend will have a happy and healthy smile for years to come.