As responsible pet owners we all try to keep our furry friends in the best condition possible. We regularly groom them and keep on top of any issues we feel they may have. We walk them and give them the best diet we can. The slightest suspicion there is something wrong and we run to the vets. One thing that is often overlooked, is oral dental care. If this is not looked after from an early age then this could result in conditions resulting in discomfort and pain. I have therefore written a Post on how to clean a Dog’s teeth and how to prevent disease.
What Should You be looking For?
Dogs are just like us humans and need to have their teeth checked regularly throughout their life. They cannot clean their teeth themselves so it is up to us to look after them. They are just like us so if they get an infection this can cause agony. If they have not been checked for a prolonged period then this can cause severe dental problems.
A healthy Dog should have clean teeth that are free from plaque and tartar. The tartar is crust-like and yellow and brown. They should also be intact and unbroken. Obviously accidents do happen, for instance a rogue stone or stick can crack a tooth. If this happens then a trip to the vet’s is inevitable. Better to give then dental chews instead of throwing them sticks to chew on.
Their tongue should be moist and not be rough to the feel. Any lumps or cuts can be the cause of infection. In must cases their gums should be salmon pink. However, there are certain breeds that have black and pink or just black gums. You may want to check up on your breed.
Common Dental Problems
If you do notice any changes in your Dog’s mouth then there is a good chance they will need treating. Common signs such as chewing only on one side of the mouth or your loved one seemingly in pain whilst chewing should all be checked out. The best way is to talk to your vet. Here are the most common issues your Dog may develop:-
- Toothache – Dogs are just like us and can develop toothache. This can be very difficult to spot but extremely uncomfortable for them. Watch how they eat and if you suspect they are avoiding chewing on one side of their mouth check it out. Bacteria from dental disease can ultimately effect their heart, liver and kidneys.
- Proliferating Gum Disease – This is more common in Bull Terriers and Boxers. This occurs when the gum line grows over their teeth which can lead to more chance of infection. This would need treating with antibiotics.
- Bad Breath – This can be one of the first things you notice if your best friend has poor dental health.
- Cysts, Tumours and Ulcers – If there is a build up of plaque then this can lead to ulcers. On a more sinister note any lumps and bumps should be checked straight away to rule out the more serious cysts or tumours.
- Gingivitis – This is inflammation of the gums where there is a build up of plaque. It leads to redness of the gums but is completely reversible with regular brushing. It is often believed to be the early stages of Periodontal Disease.
- Periodontal Disease – This is an irreversible condition caused by food and bacteria collecting along the gum line and causing plaque. It causes inflammation, swelling, loose teeth, pain and difficulty eating. Look for yellow and brown teeth and red or swollen gums. If your Dog shows any of these symptoms take him to the vet as soon as possible.
How To Clean Your Dog’s Teeth
Here are the most important things you should consider when keeping you Dog’s teeth and gums healthy:-
- Brush Their Teeth Regularly – Ideally this should be done every day but if that is too much aim for 3-4 times a week. If brushing is new to you and your best furry friend then you will need to take care to begin with. You Dog will need to be comfortable with you touching his mouth with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You can start by rubbing your finger along his gums until he gets used to this. Once you introduce the brush, ensure he smells it and is happy with you. Start by very gently rubbing his gums and teeth. Once you have done a bit at the front you can work to the rear of his mouth. Depending on his nervousness this can take a few days to master. There is no rush so baby steps will ultimately end with success. REMEMBER, make sure you buy specific Dog toothpaste. Human toothpaste will make him extremely sick.
- Check Their Teeth Regularly – Just because you are cleaning them regularly you must also be giving them a good inspection. Remember, they can’t tell you if they have chipped a tooth or they are in pain.
- Go To The Vet For Regular Checkups – You may be happy checking out your loved one’s molars but whenever you see the vet ask him to give his opinion. You may have missed something and a quick once over from the vet will put you at ease. Also, your insurance company may require you to have them checked at specific intervals.
- Give Them Plenty Of Things To Chew On – Our Hudson and Nelly have more toys in the house than they know what to do with. They have various kinds, some hard and some soft. They are great for their teeth. It also gives them something to play with instead of chewing on your best furniture.
- Buy Them Products And Treats That Are Good For Their Teeth – There are a myriads of different products out there that are suitable for your Dog. They are all designed to maintain dental health.
By ensuring the above checks are carried out, you will hopefully avoid any nasty oral conditions. By keeping your Dog’s teeth, gums and tongue clean, this will not only keep him happy but will give you peace of mind in relation to your Dog’s oral health. It could also save you a lot of heartache and money in the long term.
Any words of wisdom or experiences shared would be greatly appreciated.
All the best