How To Care For Your Dog’s Dental Health
To celebrate National Pet Dental Health Month we thought we would share our top tips when it comes to caring for your dog's pearly whites.
Dental disease. The most common health problem in dogs, according to a study by the Royal Veterinary College.
Just like humans, dogs need regular dental care. Unfortunately, this can often get overlooked. But bad dental health can have serious consequences for your furry friend's overall health.
Dogs use their teeth for more than just eating. They use them to play, explore, and examine their surroundings. In other words, anything and everything can get into your dog's mouth. And if those teeth don't get good care, serious problems can arise.
But how do you ensure your dog gets that proper dental care? It's not an easy task. Many dogs hate the sight of a toothbrush. You're busy, you have many things to fit in during the day, so how do you find the time to get your dog used to daily brushing?
The good news is that you don't have to. There is an alternative. An easy-to-use dental foam spray from the Dog Doctors which does everything brushing will do plus some extra.
But first, let's look at the reasons for taking care of your pooch's pearly whites.
Why is dental care so important?
The majority of dogs start displaying signs of periodontal disease by the time they are three years old. So, it's vital to begin dental care on your dog as early as possible.
When your dog eats, the saliva mixes with food and fluids to produce deposits of bacteria, known as plaque, which collects on the teeth and gum line. As this coating builds up, the dog's gums can become red, inflamed, and swollen. This is known as gingivitis. If this isn't cleaned off on a regular basis the plaque will harden into tartar which then becomes much more difficult to remove. This slow build-up of tartar not only affects the gums but also the bone beneath and the ligaments that hold the teeth in place. As the dental disease progresses it can lead to severe pain and may also have an effect on your dog's general health. Bacteria from the mouth can be released into the bloodstream and travel round the body. This may lead to serious problems such as:
- Endocarditis (inflammation of the heart's inner lining)
- Damage to the liver
- Reduction in kidney function
Studies have shown a direct relation between heart disease and periodontal disease in people and the same is true for dogs. The Royal Veterinary College study highlighted the severity and frequency of the disease. It revealed that certain breeds were particularly prone to it. Spaniels, Toy Poodles, Greyhounds, and brachycephalic breeds are at greater risk and, of course, that risk increases rapidly as they get older.
Bill Lambert, Health, Welfare and Breeder Services Executive at The Kennel Club commented, "This research shows that this common problem is caused by a number of factors and underlines why it's important for owners to take preventative steps, make dental care part of their routine canine care and never ignore early warning signs of dental disease such as bad breath."
Signs of dental problems in your dog
One of the first signs that your dog may have dental issues is bad breath. Smelly food is one possible cause, but it could be something more serious like plaque or gingivitis. So, it's important to observe their behaviour when they eat and when they are playing with chew toys. When they are experiencing sensitivities, some dogs will make a noise. Others, unfortunately, keep their discomfort well hidden and it can be difficult to be sure if they have a problem or not. There are a number of signs to look out for when checking your dog for dental issues. These can include:
- Abnormal chewing, drooling
- Reduced appetite
- Bad breath
- Discoloured teeth, covered in tartar
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Loose or broken teeth
- Irritability or changes in behaviour
How to check your dog's mouth
Checking your dog's mouth may not be an easy task at first but with a bit of practice and a calm demeanour, it will become second nature to you both. First, don't just stick your fingers into your dog's mouth. Make sure they are as relaxed as possible so they are more likely to cooperate, and there will be less chance of getting your fingers nipped. While they are sitting quietly, gently lift the flap on one side of the mouth. Pay particular attention to the colour of the gums themselves and the teeth. Look for any signs of chipped or broken teeth and any areas which look painful. Repeat the process on the other side to get an overall picture. If you aren't able to see the back of the mouth, try offering them a dental chew. While they are chomping away you may be able to get a better view.
The alternative to daily brushing
So, we've examined the reasons why your best friends need as much dental care as you do and how to examine them safely.
But the question is, how do you keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy? Especially if you have one of those that runs in the opposite direction as soon as you get the toothbrush out.
Well, as I mentioned earlier there is an alternative to the hassle of daily brushing.
The Dog Doctor's Fresh Foam Dental Care is a simple spray that can replace brushing, help to reduce plaque and tartar build-up, and leave your dog with fresh breath. It is 100% natural with a delicious mint flavour and the sodium bicarbonate will help to maintain your pup's pearly whites. The silent pump is great for those dogs who might jump at sudden noises. Very easy to apply, simply lift the upper lip as you did when checking your dog's teeth and give two sprays. Repeat on the other side and that's it. No fighting with your pooch over the toothbrush. Moreover, the spray has been created and is recommended by veterinarians themselves. So, you can't go wrong.
Implementing this oral healthcare regime and accompanying it with appropriate chews and diet will go a long way in maintaining your dog's oral and overall physical health. And there is the added bonus that a fit and healthy dog won't need so many visits to the veterinarian so you will also be saving money.