Improper dental hygiene can lead to many preventable health problems, including tooth decay, infections, and even life-threatening conditions.
You should regularly inspect your dog’s mouth to examine the condition of their teeth and gums. The Hill’s Pets website says, “healthy dog teeth should be clean and free of plaque and tartar (hard, scaly or sticky discolorations). Similarly, your dog’s 42 teeth (a third more than you have, as Pet Health Network® points out) should be intact and not jagged or broken.”
Now that we have covered that, let’s discuss how to take care of your dog’s teeth. There are several ways to do this.
Brushing your dog’s teeth is a great way to prevent plaque buildup. You don’t have to do it every day, but the more you do it the better. When brushing your dog’s teeth, remember to use a dog specific toothbrush. Human toothbrushes are not built for the curves of dog’s teeth; also, be sure to purchase dog specific toothpaste. Human toothpaste will likely bother your pup’s stomach and some brands contain the deadly ingredient xylitol.
Next are dog dental treats. Dogs love treats, and this will leave them feeling spoiled while also making sure they’re healthy too. These are designed to specifically clean your pooch’s mouth. Dental treats can combat oral problems such as:
- Bad breath
- Build-up of saliva, bacteria, and plaque
- Build-up of tartar
- Irritated gums
Lastly, it is recommended that your pup get professional cleanings done by your veterinarian. The first step involves a dental exam to determine whether your dog needs a professional cleaning. Most dental cleanings are performed while your dog is under general anesthesia and consists of a comprehensive dental examination, teeth cleaning, and polishing to remove any plaque that could potentially lead to periodontal disease. Though much more expensive, teeth cleanings are one of the best things you can potentially do for your dog, as the veterinarian knows what’s best for your dog’s dental health.