What you need to know about your dog's dental health
Contributed by Vetted Pet Care
Note from the Editor: This blog was contributed by the team of mobile vets at Vetted Pet Care, as part of SmartyPaws partnership with them. Vetted works with a team of veterinarians in your neighborhood able to deliver house calls and at-home pet care for your four-legged family members.
Those slobbery smiles do more than just melt hearts. Your dog’s mouth is the key to their overall health. Yet, when’s the last time you thought about cleaning your dog’s teeth?
Almost all dogs will eventually suffer from some form of dental disease, but that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. Being vigilant about keeping your dog’s teeth clean and maintaining good oral health can literally add years to your furry friend’s life.
Here’s what you need to know to brush up on your dog’s dental hygiene:
Teeth brushing: The first line of defense
In a perfect world, your dog’s oral hygiene would be as important as your own and brushing their teeth would be part of your daily routine. But even veterinarians admit that can be difficult - especially if your dog is opposed to the practice!
At a minimum, you should be brushing your dog’s teeth at least a couple of times a week. All you really need to brush your dog’s teeth properly is a rubber-bristled dog toothbrush and dog-specific, enzymatic pet toothpaste.
Starting at the back of your dog’s mouth, use a circular motion to brush all their teeth clean. Repeat daily!
Getting your dog on board
If you have a puppy...The younger you start brushing your dog’s teeth, the easier and better for their health it will be. Ask your vet to recommend a puppy-specific toothpaste and consider using a thimble-style rubber-bristled toothbrush which is smaller and easier to manage.
Never use physical force to make your puppy compliant as they may negatively associate it with dental care.
If you have an adult or senior dog...Who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks!? There’s no bad time to start brushing your dog’s teeth. It will probably take some work to get your dog used to the process.
Start with a tiny amount of dog toothpaste on your finger and allow them to lick it off. After a few days of that, gently rub your finger with toothpaste on it around your dog’s gums.
From there, introduce a toothbrush and eventually work your way up to full-mouth brushing. Slow and steady wins the race!
Healthy diet, healthy teeth
Your dog’s food has a lot to do with how healthy their mouth is. Foods with certain shapes and consistencies can actually help with removing plaque and cleaning your dog’s mouth while they eat.
Of course, nutritionally balanced food is a good way to keep their canines healthy from the inside out. Supplements can be a great way to ensure your dog is meeting all their nutritional requirements.
Immune and gut health also play a role in your pet’s dental health. They impact the amount and type of bacteria present in your dog’s mouth at any given time.
Treat their canines
Treat time is another great opportunity to sneak in a low-key dental cleaning. Treats with granules and nubbins can effectively clean your dog’s teeth and gums while they’re gnawing.
There are also a bevy of teeth-cleaning chew toys you can try. The most important aspect of your dog’s dental health? Regular veterinary visits.
By getting your dog’s teeth professionally evaluated at least once a year, you can help ensure no creeping issues (gum disease, tooth loss and other dental problems) sneak up on you. When it comes to dental health, vigilance is the best medicine!