Our dogs are at risk from suffering the same sorts of dental ailments as we are. Cavities, plaque, impacted teeth and periodontal disease are all common in dogs. Even though these problems can be more prevalent in certain breeds of dogs, preventative care and regular checkups should be provided for all breeds. Here is a doggie dental care checklist to keep your dog’s mouth healthy, his teeth clean and his breath fresh.
( ) Regular checkups – You may have noticed that when you take your dog to the vet, she always checks his teeth. In doing so she’s checking for tartar buildup and signs of periodontal, or gum, disease. Catching any doggie dental care problems early can prevent the need for expensive intervention later on.
( ) Daily brushing – Just like us, dogs need to have their teeth brushed daily. Special brushes and toothpaste (in flavors like beef and chicken) are available at most pet stores. To get your dog used to you working in his mouth, start off slowly by putting a little of the toothpaste on your finger and rubbing his gums lightly. Gradually increase the time and pressure you use until he is ready for the brush.
( ) Mouthwash – Special mouthwash that contains either Oxygene or grapefruit seed extract helps to kill bacteria that causes periodontal disease. There are generally two types: one is sprayed directly onto your dog’s teeth and gums while the other is added into his water dish.
( ) Dental toys – There are dog toys available that contain flexible ridges that remove plaque and massage the gums. They allow you to be mindful of doggie dental care even when your pet is playing.
( ) Dental treats – Occasionally switch out one of your dog’s regular treats with one made especially for his teeth. Like dental toys, these doggie dental care treats are hard and designed to remove plaque as your dog chews.
( ) Dry food (the larger bite the better) – Switching your dog to a dry food rather than moist or canned food can improve his dental health. Buy the largest bite your dog can easily handle, as the larger the pieces, the better job it does at removing plaque.
( ) Specialized diet for dental care – If your dog is prone to dental problems your veterinarian may recommend switching him to a dental diet, specially formulated to treat dental issues and improve oral health.
( ) Cleanings and extractions when needed – No matter how good care you take of your dog’s teeth, he may still need to have a “dental” from time to time. Dentals generally require putting your dog under anesthesia so that his teeth can be thoroughly cleaned and tarter removed. In certain cases, he may also have to have some teeth removed. This procedure can be very expensive which makes preventative care well worth the time and effort.