Keeping your pet’s pearly whites clean and healthy is just as important as proper nutrition and regular exercise, but sadly, it’s one of the most neglected areas of care.
When pet owners don’t give proper consideration to their pet’s dental health, tartar and calculus (that brown stuff on your dog’s teeth) can build up in the mouth. This can then get into the gums and cause gum disease, and the bacteria can make it’s way into the bloodstream, affecting your dog’s kidneys and overall health.
Neglecting Dental Health in Dogs
If left untreated, gum disease can become bad enough that the teeth will rot and fall out. In such cases, the rotting teeth cause pain to your pet and it’s more humane to have the teeth pulled.
Just as hip and eye problems are common traits among certain breeds of dogs, bad teeth are a common trait in the toy breeds. Pomeranians, Yorkshire terriers, mini Dachshunds, Shih Tzus and Maltese are just a few examples of dogs known to have problems with their teeth.
A small-breed dog has the same amount of teeth as a full-sized dog, but they are crammed into a smaller mouth.
Refusal to eat, excessive salivation, bleeding gums and bad breath are all signs of unhealthy teeth in your pet.
So what can you do to help improve your pet’s dental health?
Obviously, brushing your dog’s teeth is the best and most effective way to keep his or her mouth clean and fresh. (Doggy toothbrush and pet-friendly toothpaste required.)
Pet owners will need to brush their pet’s teeth for about a minute, once a day. And for those just starting on a brushing routine, there are finger brushes available so you won’t surprise your dog when you shove a brush in his mouth.
For people who don’t have the time or the inclination to brush Fido’s chompers, there are good brands of dog food available which are specially formulated for tartar control and they scrape the teeth to help keep them clean.
Chewing is also a great way to keep the tartar and ugly brown gunk at bay. Of course, this is a bit harder to do with cats, but for dogs, large rawhides, carrots – something hard enough and tasty enough that they can work at it, but obviously not hard enough to hurt their teeth. Toys and chew bones work well.
There are also oral rinses available on the market and they work as an additive to your pet’s water dish. And although they can be helpful, these products won’t work as a primary means for cleaning teeth.
Just as in people, keeping your pet’s teeth in pristine condition will keep him or her happy, healthy, bright, energetic and pain-free.