Dental hygiene is just as important for your dog as it is for you. Dog teeth, like human teeth, can get plaque build-up which can lead to tartar. When tartar accumulates, it can get under the gums and cause nasty infections and gum disease. This occurs in dogs just like it does in people. We brush our teeth twice a day and floss (at least, that’s what we tell our dentists) to keep our teeth in good shape, so what can we do for our dogs?
Tooth brushing for dogs
Vets recommend that dog owners brush their dog’s teeth twice a week or more to keep tartar build-up to a minimum. Most pet shops offer toothbrushes and toothpastes designed especially for dogs. Because dogs have a better sense of smell and taste than humans, that minty-fresh tube of Colgate in your bathroom would be excruciating for them, so do make sure that you use dog toothpaste and not any other kind if you plan on brushing your dog’s teeth.
Many people don’t feel confident enough or simply don’t have the time to brush their dog’s teeth on a regular basis. If this is you, never fear! You can look after their teeth in a different way. Dogs have a built-in dental care mechanism: their natural tendency to chew. Crunchy dog biscuits can help clean their teeth, as chewing them breaks the biscuits down into pieces and rubs them against the teeth. This is not as effective as tooth brushing, but if you can’t do that, the best alternative is to make sure you are providing your dog with dog biscuits on a regular basis.
Mouth diseases in dogs
Dogs that don’t receive dental care and have no access to crunchy teeth-cleaning foods are at risk of several types of mouth disease. The mildest of these is gingivitis, which results in swollen, inflamed gums, while a more serious bacterial infection can spread through the bloodstream and cause damage to your dog’s vital organs. For this reason, you owe it to your pet to keep their teeth in good condition.
There are dental services available for dogs just as there are for humans. A dog can have its teeth capped, filled and extracted if necessary. However, dental procedures for animals can be very expensive, not to mention uncomfortable and possibly even painful. If you can avoid the unnecessary costs and discomfort for your dog, you should do so. Preventative dental care for dogs ensures your pet’s longevity and quality of life.