Pet Dental Health Month
Did you know that February is Pet Dental Month? And with 80% of dogs having some state of dental disease before they are 3 years old (see article below), it’s impawtent to take care of your pooch’s oral health!
As well as causing your dog pain in their mouth, dental disease can also cause your dog to lose teeth and have smelly breath. It can also lead to problems in other parts of the body including the heart, liver and kidneys, so you’ll be wanting to keep your pooch’s gnashers in pawfect condition.
Dogs with poor dental health can have a lot of plaque (a sticky film of bacteria that covers the teeth), calculus (also known as tartar, which is the thick discoloured plaques that form over teeth) and/or gingivitis (redness and irritation of the gums).
Always remember that your vet is the best person to advise on any dental concerns you have with your pet, so if you have any worries be sure to book them in for a check up.
So what can you do to prevent dental issues in your dog?
Brushing your dog’s teeth twice a day is the ideal way to keep their teeth looking good. We appreciate that sometimes that’s just not possible, so as often as you can is great.
The most important things to remember are to slowly get your dog used to teeth brushing, because it might be scary at first, to always use a dog specific toothpaste, and make sure to not use a toothbrush that’s too big for your pooch’s mouth.
Starting brushing early in your pup’s life is the ideal way to try and prevent future dental disease, so to find out how to get brushing check out our guide on how to clean your dog's teeth.
Dental Chews & Sticks
There are some tasty chews on the market that can help your dog with their dental health.
While tooth brushing is still the best way that you can look after your pet’s gnashers at home, chews can be useful as well, including with dogs who just aren’t up for brushing!
Here are some dental chews and sticks that are available now.
As well as tasty treats, there are also toys specifically designed to try and improve your pet’s dental health.
While they’re not going to get rid of thick layers of calculus and inflamed, infected gums, they can prevent the build up of more plaque on your pooch’s teeth.
Here are some dental toys that claim to support your doggy’s dental health.
Some dog food brands now provide special dental diets that help to clean your dog’s teeth as they chew.
Like chews and toys, they don’t beat tooth brushing and won’t get rid of years of thick calculus, but they can try to stop more build up or prevent tartar building up in the first place in young dogs, or pooches who have had recent dental work.
Find out more about the best dog dental food.
There are more and more dental treats available to buy, and they can be a tasty way to try and remove some of the plaque from your dog’s teeth.
They won’t get rid of more severe dental disease like gingivitis or calculus build up, and you have to watch the calories, but they can be a tasty way to reduce some of the plaque on your pooch’s pearly whites. Discover our guide on dog dental treats!
But my dog already has a lot of dental disease? Will these things help?
These kinds of options can help to reduce more calculus build up, but they’re not going to get rid of those thick plaques on your dog’s teeth and/or the infection in their gums, or if they have a broken tooth that needs repairing or removing.
Your vet should be able to help and advise if your pooch’s mouth needs a bit more attention.
Your vet can advise if they recommend dental work.
A common procedure done by vets is a dental scale and polish, and removing teeth as necessary. This should only be done by a veterinary practice and it will be done under a general anaesthetic.
The general anaesthetic allows your vet to do the different investigations and treatments as required, which can include x-rays, teeth cleaning and removing unhealthy teeth.
The information in this article should only be used as a guide, and should never replace advice or treatment given by your veterinarian. If you ever have any concerns about your pet’s health you should speak with your veterinary practice.
- Whyte et al., 2014. Canine stage 1 periodontal disease: a latent pathology. The Veterinary Journal. July 2014. 201(1) pp.118-20.
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