The American Veterinary Dental College says that the majority of dogs show signs of canine periodontal disease by just three years old.
Periodontal disease is associated with ailments in the kidney, liver and heart as well as just the teeth. Dog breath doesn’t have to be a side effect of dog ownership. You can fight both bad breath and disease by keeping your pup’s teeth squeaky clean.
BRUSHING THEIR TEETH
Brushing your dog’s teeth is a great way to prevent plaque build up. You don’t have to do it every day, but the American Kennel Club says the more you can brush, the better. Get a toothpaste specifically made for dogs. Not only might it come in flavors more palatable to your pup, but it won’t contain some ingredients that human toothpaste does that are harmful to dogs. Use a dog toothbrush that it’s specifically shaped to fit inside your dog’s mouth or a brush that fits over your finger. You can also use dog dental wipes that are made to be rubbed against your dog’s teeth to remove plaque.
DENTAL TREATS AND CHEWS
Dog dental treats and chews are made to remove plaque buildup and often contain ingredients that can also freshen their breath. The act of chewing benefits your dog’s oral health because it works to scrape plaque off their teeth. Some chews made from meat also contain enzymes that can help with dental health.
The best solution for good oral health is to schedule regular dental cleanings with your veterinarian. It can be expensive as it involves anesthesia, but it allows the veterinarian to make a thorough inspection of your dog’s teeth and address any issues found. February is pet dental health month, and many veterinary clinics offer specials on cleanings around that time.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Other than bad breath, watch for broken or loose teeth, extra teeth or retained baby teeth, discolorations on teeth, abnormal chewing, drooling, dropping food, reduced appetite, pain around the mouth, bleeding from the mouth and swelling around the mouth. Be careful when evaluating your pet’s mouth; an animal in pain may bite.