Dental care for your dog

Every day we humans spend time taking care of our teeth, but what about our dogs? How can their teeth and gums stay healthy if we don’t give them the same care? The best way to ensure your dog’s teeth are clean and healthy is to brush them.

Bacteria and plaque can harden on your dog’s teeth to form tartar, which can mean gingivitis, receding gums, pain and tooth loss. Dental problems not only affect your dog’s teeth; if left untreated, dental infections can spread to the heart, kidneys and other vital organs.

Regular brushing is the best way to prevent tartar build-up and gum disease. Start slow by letting them taste the toothpaste – but never use human toothpastes.  Use a toothbrush and toothpaste specially designed for pets, or you may prefer to use either a finger brush or clean gauze wrapped around your finger. When your dog gets used to this process, you can introduce a toothbrush.  We use an inexpensive battery powered type.  There are also a number of products that promote oral health in pets, including gels, rinses, teeth-cleaning kibble or textured chew toys.

We brush our Sheltie’s teeth every night, however brushing three to four times a week is enough to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

You should check your dog’s mouth once a week to make sure gums are pink, not white or red, and teeth are clean without signs of brownish tartar. There are other clues that may indicate possible mouth problems, like exceptionally bad breath, excessive drinking or urinating, loss of appetite, or vomiting.

Besides brushing and an annual checkup, there are different ways to protect your dog’s oral health.  Choose a healthy and balanced diet – dogs thrive on monotony.  No sweets or leftovers.  Chews and rawhides help limit tartar and plaque buildup.

Talk to your veterinarian if you suspect any mouth problems or if you have any questions about how to brush your pet’s teeth, selecting the right products, or for tips on how to keep your dog’s teeth clean.

Dental disease in dogs is usually slow to develop and very preventable. By following proper oral care, you can easily avoid any future discomfort as well as an expensive vet bill down the road.

-Bonnie

Braeside Dental Centre

Dental care for your dog
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