Dental Care For Your Dog
Dental care and hygiene are essential when it comes to our loving dogs. Just like humans, dogs need to maintain oral health to live long, happy lives.
It might seem trivial, but something as simple as brushing your dog’s teeth is the best way to start oral preventative care. Just like with humans, ideally, a dog’s teeth should be brushed twice daily. Without brushing, plaque builds up, which leads to periodontal disease and tooth loss. The more you brush your dog’s teeth, the more they will become used to it, and they may even come to enjoy it as part of your daily routine. Despite this being a necessary step in oral care, only 7% of dog owners follow through with brushing their dog’s teeth.
The likelihood and severity of dental disease also depend on the breed of dog you have. Smaller breeds are more likely to fall victim, while some large breeds, such as boxers and mastiffs, are more susceptible to a gum disorder called gingival hyperplasia which is the overgrowth of gums. With regular dental maintenance and preventative care for your dog, you can avoid many sicknesses and diseases.
Toothpaste and toothbrushes for your dog can be found at many pet stores and Southern States locations. Remember, don’t use human toothpaste on your dog. The ingredients found in our toothpaste contain toxins that can make your animal extremely sick. If you would rather make your own toothpaste at home, use one tablespoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of beef or chicken stock. This will create a paste that can be used to clean teeth and taste good. Remember that toothpaste you buy will contain enzymes that help fight and prevent plaque.
Taking your dog to the vet once a year is a normal practice for their overall health, but it is also important to go for their oral health. You may need to go twice a year for smaller breeds to prevent tooth loss. Going to your regular vet for dental care is not abnormal, but if your pet is experiencing tooth or gum issues already, you might want to consider going to a veterinary dentist who can perform regular cleanings, exams, and x-rays and recommend a course of treatment if your dog is showing signs of oral decay.
When visiting your vet, be sure to ask if your dog requires special food or a powder additive designed for dental hygiene. If a powder is recommended, add one full scoop mixed in with their dry or wet food. Dog dental powder is used to balance healthy bacteria inside their mouth and kill plaque-creating bacteria. It also helps prevent tartar build-up. Some human food options can be given as snacks every so often to help keep the plaque off your dog’s teeth, such as carrot sticks, uncooked pumpkin, sweet potatoes, apple slices, and squash. All these options are safe and tasty for your pups.
If brushing your dog’s teeth is not an option, try dental treats or dental sticks. According to the Veterinary Oral Health Council or VOHC, dental sticks reduce plaque by 15%-20%, whereas brushing reduces plaque by 25%-30%. The recommendation is to give your dog one dental stick every day, preferably after their first meal. When deciding which dental sticks to buy, look for the VOHC seal.
Dental care and oral hygiene are important to a dog’s health and should not be overlooked. Be sure to ask your veterinarian how you can support their oral health to keep them feeling their best for years to come.