Do you cringe when your dog gives you affectionate puppy kisses? Can Fido’s breath kill houseplants? If so, your furry buddy may have some issues with his teeth. This is a fairly common affliction in dogs. In fact, over 80 percent of dogs over age 3 have gum disease. Our canine pals can also develop other painful issues, such as abscesses, overcrowding, and cracked or broken teeth. A Raleigh, NC vet offers some advice on caring for your pet’s teeth in this article.
Fido should have his choppers checked regularly. We recommend having them examined every year, starting at age one. Keep in mind that the point of treating dental issues in dogs is not to give Fido a perfect, pearly white smile: it’s to address issues that can cause pain, infections, and/or other problems.
In between appointments, the best thing you can do is brush your pup’s teeth. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically made for dogs. You’ll need to get Fido on board with the idea. Start slow, by just massaging his gums. Offer a yummy treat and lots of praise to help your furry pal form a ‘pawsitive’ association with the process. Once he’s accepted this, start using the pet toothpaste and toothbrush.
Some dogs just won’t tolerate having their choppers handled. If you can’t get Fido to cooperate, don’t worry. There are other ways to keep his teeth clean. Dental-formula treats, kibble, and chews are all helpful at removing plaque and tartar. Oral rinses and dental flakes are beneficial as well. Ask your vet for specific advice.
Did you know that chewing is actually beneficial for dogs? It helps keep Fido’s jaws strong, and also stimulates the flow of saliva. Offer your canine friend plenty of safe, suitable chew toys.
Water is of course crucial to Fido’s survival. However, it’s also very important for his oral health. Make sure your pooch always has fresh, clean water.
Keep an eye out for signs of doggy dental woes. Some common ones are bad breath; swelling; tartar buildup; bloody smears on toys or dishes; withdrawal; changes in appetite and/or eating habits; grumpiness; and reduced interest in play. Call your vet immediately if you notice any of these red flags.
Please feel free to contact us, your Raleigh, NC vet clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!