Our Top Tips on Dental Care for Dogs
Excellent dental care really is just as essential for your dog as it is for you.
Dental disease is one of the very common problems we just keep seeing – and sadly, much it is totally preventable.
So what are the problems?
Just as with us humans, plaque is the main cause of problems. It builds up on the teeth throughout the day. As it builds up, the gums are pushed back, exposing the roots of the teeth. This often leads to infection in the gums and bones. Eventually your dog’s teeth can even fall out.
It doesn’t just stop there though. The worst problem of all is that dental disease is like a launch pad for infections which travel via the blood to other parts of the body, including the heart, liver and kidneys. It really can be very serious.
Common problems to watch out for
- Gum disease – it’s largely preventable with good routine care – the priority is removing plaque.
- Puppies’ temporary teeth sometimes don’t fall out, so the permanent teeth then become misaligned. This can also create pockets where food accumulates, which leads to gum infections. Don’t worry, the temporary teeth can be removed, if they are causing problems.
- Abnormal jaw development – this can lead to irregular growth of teeth.
Problems eating food is one of the first signs of a major problem with your dog’s teeth – if this happens you need to bring him or her in so we can check out the cause asap.
So how do I avoid problems?
Just like with humans, dogs need to have the plaque removed – which means they need their own toothbrush and toothpaste.
However, you’ll need to give your dog a helping hand – we haven’t yet found anyone who’s managed to train their dog to do this for themselves!
For dogs we recommend
- Daily tooth-brushing with a toothbrush and pet toothpaste (never use human toothpaste!).
- Special dental care diets – these are complete, balanced diets that also use unique fibre technology to clean the teeth while eating and can reduce plaque. This is equivalent to brushing once a week.
- Dental chews (for dogs)
Occasionally there are individual health reasons that may mean special dental diets are not suitable for your dog. So please do discuss the options with your vet at your regular healthcare review.
Top tips for tooth brushing
- Start when your puppy is young, so that brushing becomes part of the normal daily routine
- At first, spend a few moments every day, just touching in and around your puppy’s mouth.
- Progress to rubbing the outside surfaces of the teeth with your finger.
- Next, cover your finger with a damp cloth and rub the teeth.
- Once your puppy is comfortable with this, move onto a finger brush and then to a toothbrush with puppy toothpaste
- Don’t rush it. Remember – always quit while you’re ahead!
- End on a high by praising your dog when it’s all over
If you’ve not yet got in the habit of cleaning your dog’s teeth every day, as well as your own, don’t worry, we can help you and show you exactly what to do.
Checking your dog’s teeth is one of the things we look at during our regular health reviews and examinations.
The good news is that we can do everything your dog needs to keep his teeth healthy – even if he needs serious treatment or surgery, you don’t need to take your dog to a separate dentist.
If you think your dog’s teeth may need attention, please do book an appointment asap with Michelle or Emma, our oral care nurses – you know yourself how painful toothache is!
So just Call Us on 01430 431758.
End Cottage Vets