Healthy Teeth in Dogs
Veterinary care has made many advances over the past two decades. Pet owner’s have a greater understanding and desire to give their pets happy, healthy, long lives by preventing dog tooth decay. One of the most important things an owner can do to make sure a pet remains healthy, is to monitor oral health. One of the major strides in veterinary medicine has been in dental care. Dental disease in dogs has received increased recognition as a common, yet easily treatable disease that your pet may suffer from. Increased awareness and treatment by pet owners can keep this common disease at bay.
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Dental disease is not something that you can just keep an eye out for. You must do more than just check your dog’s teeth. It is something that can be seriously damaging to your pet’s health. Although it may not be as painful or immediate as a broken bone, dental disease can cause chronic pain. The bacteria from dental disease can spread through the blood system and cause even more damage to your pet. If you take care of your dog’s teeth now you can prevent more serious problems in the future.
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How to clean dog teeth
A dog that gets their teeth brushed frequently (several times per week) has a much lower chance of developing dental diseases, such as periodontal disease. The following are steps and helpful hints on how to brush your dog's teeth.
Before beginning at-home dental care, it is important to get the dog a professional dental cleaning. This will allow a professional to take note on any pre-existing issues a dog may have and they can answer any questions a pet owner may have on the issue and what techniques are best for different breeds.
Gather needed supplies. A soft bristle tooth brush and paste made especially for animals. Do not use human toothpastes or baking soda (these are not safe to swallow). Plus toothpaste that is made for animals will have better flavors that will be more appealing to the dog. Use a bristled brush that will get below the gum line, this is a very important area to brush. All supplies can be found at local pet stores
Offer the dog a sample of the toothpaste. Run your finger along the upper teeth and gums with the toothpaste. Next repeat what you just did using the toothbrush. Work from the back of the mouth toward the front, making small circles. Make sure to brush along the gum line and aim the bristles so they will clean under the gum. Start off brushing for a quick 15-20 seconds. Although the entire mouth will not get cleaned this time, it will get the dog used to having his/her teeth brushed. It is very important not to continue brushing if the dog is getting aggravated. Just take a break and try again tomorrow. Just like everything else, a dog just needs time to adjust.
Tips for dog teeth cleaning:
To a dog having his/her teeth brushed is a big ordeal. Always reward with sweet and loving praises, a treat or a walk after the brushing is done. It will take a few days for the dog to get adjusted to this, so it is important to be patient during the transition. Professionals also suggest picking a time that will be most convenient to the dogs daily routine will also be beneficial. Maybe in the mornings after the first potty of the day or right before lights out at night.
Even with the best at-home teeth care, occasionally dogs will still need professional cleaning. Just like humans still need to visit a dentist regularly. Just remember by brushing your dogs teeth at home, you help prevent gum disease.
Periodontal disease affects the upper, back teeth first and worst. Always make sure to brush these areas as best as possible. If the dog wouldn’t allow a proper cleaning, let the dog rest before trying again.
Always brush the gum line, to remove the plaque build up around the area. Plaque builds up on tooth surface during each feeding. Within 36 hours the plaque will become mineralized (harden into tarter). Tarter cannot be removed with a brush.
The Signs of Dental Disease
* Bad breath
* Brown color on the dog’s teeth
* Cracked or worn teeth
* Changes in appetite
* Drooling or pawing at the mouth
* Painful to the touch on the muzzle
* Bleeding gums
Veterinary research shows that one of the most commonly diagnosed health problems in dogs today is some form of dental disease. Tartar build-up, gum infections and rotten teeth are all issues your dog can face if you do not take steps to ensure his dental health. Sometimes worse that the dental issues themselves are secondary problems caused by the release of bacteria from diseased gums, bacteria which can get into the bloodstream and create disease in other organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver. Good dental hygiene for dogs is not so different from that of humans. Regular brushing of your dog's teeth is vital, as are tartar-removing toys and chews. But dog teeth cleaning performed by your veterinarian is probably the most important, and often the most neglected, health-preserving treatment your veterinarian has to offer your pet.
Since dog teeth cleaning is so important to the health and well-being of canines, why is it so often neglected? One reason is that dog owners simply may not understand the need. Veterinarians and animal welfare agencies have been increasing their efforts to educate dog owners about this important part of pet health. Feeding crunchy kibble and veterinarian-approved dental treats will help keep a dog's teeth clean, but such steps are not the total answer. At-home care is just the first step, the same as it is in human dental health. Pet owners floss and brush their own teeth daily, yet regular trips to the dentist are still a given to ensure that they maintain healthy teeth and gums. Dogs need similar consideration to get the same results.
Another reason that more people don't get their dog's teeth routinely cleaned could be cost, since most dog teeth cleaning procedures take place under general anesthesia, and can be rather expensive. However, given the benefits that can be gained from the procedure, dog owners need to understand that they will be saving more than just money in the long run. Losing a beloved dog to heart, liver or kidney disease brought on by gum infections is unthinkable when the issue is so easily prevented.
There are companies with products on the market today that claim to make dog teeth cleaning by veterinarians obsolete. These companies typically manufacture their products from ingredients that are natural and non-toxic, and some of these products may actually serve to improve dog dental health when used as directed. Yet to assume that you will never need to have our dog's teeth cleaned by a veterinarian if you use these products is unrealistic. There's nothing wrong with using them, assuming you have cleared their use with your veterinarian, but don't skip that regular check-up just because you've been spritzing your dog's teeth with the latest anti-tartar spray. Short cuts and quick fixes can lead to big problems down the road.
People understand the need to seek good dental hygiene for themselves and their families. Remember to also do the right thing for your furry family members and get them the dental care they need as well. Having your dog's teeth cleaned when needed can literally preserve his health and extend his life.
If your pet displays any of these telltale signs for dental disease, then it is very important that you follow up with a veterinary check-up for your dog’s teeth. If caught early, dental disease can be taken care of by brushing the dog’s teeth everyday. Unfortunately, dental disease is often not recognized in the early stages. As a result, the pet must be given a general anesthesia before the vet can examine the dog teeth properly. The pet’s mouth much be opened fully to diagnose and treat the extent of the problem.
This causes too much discomfort to the pet and makes the anesthesia a necessity before treatment. In contrast to the ease of simply brushing a dog’s teeth if caught early, treatments for dental disease in more advanced stages can vary from a clean and polish right up to fillings and crowns in dogs! Most of the same treatments that you may receive at the dentist also can be applied to dog teeth.
Remember, dog teeth cleaning without anesthetic is now quite effective!
Prevention of Dental Problems
No matter what the condition of the dog’s teeth, preventing tartar on dogs' teeth is much easier on pets and owners than costly veterinary procedures that require anesthesia. Keeping your pet’s teeth and gums clean and healthy is simple. Begin by brushing the dog’s teeth daily with a vet approved toothpaste such as our Oral Care Gel. The only way to stop the plaque and tarter buildup that contributes to dental disease is brushing. It is best to start brushing the dog’s teeth at a young age, however, it is never too late to start! Rawhide chews and dry dog food, such as the specially formulated Hills T/D diet, in addition to brushing, will also help to reduce plaque and tartar build up.
Do you remember the last time you had a toothache? You went immediately to the dentist and had the problem fixed. Our pets suffer in the same way when they get a toothache. The only difference is that they can not speak up and say that they have a toothache. When a person has a toothache, they complain to anyone who is willing to listen. Our pets also complain to anyone and everyone, but in more subtle, easily overlooked ways. Start checking your pets' teeth regularly, watch for changes in appetite and discoloration or damage to the dog’s teeth. You really can make a difference in your pet’s health! If you think that you see a problem, or are unsure if there is a problem with your dog’s teeth, arrange a health check with your vet or take your pet to a vet for an initial assessment.