Canine Dental Care
Is your dog having bad breath? How well is he eating? Are his teeth white, or are they covered in brown tartar? Does he have mouth ulcers? Is drooling excessive? Is he irritable? How about lethargic? Does he have missing or loose teeth? If you answered yes to one or more of these question, then it is very likely that your pet?s dental health is not what it should be. Both this and his physical health are at stake. When you see these symptoms, don?t treat them lightly if you don?t want the problem to become severe. Just like in the case of humans, your dog?s dental health is a big deal!
Dogs, like humans, need a little bit of dental cleaning and regular checkups in order to keep their teeth healthy. Should the dog owner fail to take care of their dog?s teeth, the poor pet could develop some serious health issues, heart, kidney or liver-related. Not to mention the bad dental conditions all lovely canines, as well as their owners, can be confronted with due to the lack of proper dental hygiene: periodontal disease (which causes the teeth to fall out), gingivitis or swollen gums, mouth tumors and cysts under the tongue, decayed teeth and bad breath. In fact, if you notice that your dog's breath smells weird, you should immediately do a checkup for possible issues. Bad breath is always a sign of trouble.
Some experts argue that giving your pet dry food can be a lifesaver for its teeth, seeing that soft food gets stuck to the teeth ? however, there are other experts who say that moisture is essential for your dog?s food, especially if it does not drink water that often, so soft food is a must too.
Dogs have similar mouth diseases to ours, such as gingivitis, periodontitis and endodontic disease. When plaque builds up it hardens and results in tartar. Tartar then lifts the margins of the gum, and this area between the teeth and gums becomes a place for bacteria to develop. Since saliva cannot penetrate this area, the invasion spreads to the gums, causing periodontitis. This manifests through ulcers and tooth loss. If left unchecked, it can also enter the bloodstream.
The first rule you should follow if you want your pet to have healthy teeth is to visit the veterinary dentist regularly. How regularly depends on the dog?s overall condition - although even a healthy one should have a dental check at least once a year. You don?t have to worry about your canine friend feeling any pain, as the procedures always involve anesthesia. A thorough exam is then performed. This is in order to determine if the teeth need repair or extraction. Some canine dentists will also perform x-rays on the teeth, so as to see if the teeth are cracked or diseased. Finally, a general dental cleaning will take place.
When at home, you should get used to brushing your dog?s teeth frequently. It is preferable that you do this twice a day. Tooth brushing lowers the amount of bacteria in your dog?s mouth and makes breath fresh. It is easy to do, using special canine brushes and toothpaste. Don?t worry that your dog can?t spit. The toothpaste is designed to be swallowed. A good paste contains enzymes that help fight against plaque, so look for these when reading the product?s label.
The trick to convincing your buddy to stay still while brushing its teeth is another story. Many dog owners start slowly, step by step. First, they massage their dogs? lips with circular moves, moving onto the gums next. After the dog is okay with this process, they would try to brush their dog?s teeth in small portions, reaching the entire mouth in the end. In order to motivate your dog, you could give him a treat at the end. After a while, with patience and constant treats, your dog will be more than happy when teeth cleaning time comes.
When buying a toothbrush, make sure it?s one specially made for dogs. Don?t use children?s toothbrushes because they don?t handle very well in the dog?s mouth. You can spot a good brush easily by its long and slightly tilted handle. These can be found in most pet shops, so ask around. If your dog finds it initially uncomfortable, you can also use a canine finger brush. These are small and fit on your fingertip. Still they?re not as effective, so you should try and make your dog tolerate a proper brush. Also remember to check the condition of the teeth as you brush them.
When you have a dog, the dental condition is a very important aspect of its health, so don?t treat it lightly.