Just like when it comes to eye, ear, and skin check-ups, regular care and examination of your dog’s teeth are essential to maintain good health. It is worth the time to find a routine that is most convenient for you and your dog, depending on its breed, size, and age. Your veterinarian is there to help guide you through the options available.
Canine dental care
For dogs, regular dental care and hygiene are essential to the detection of dental abnormalities. As they are in humans, diseases and problems related to teeth can become very painful. Small breed dogs are particularly affected by dental diseases like gingivitis, growths, bleeding gums, abscesses, and excessive tartar. It is only by observation and proper hygiene that we can reduce these risks.
Good dental hygiene habits to adopt
For breeds more prone to tartar accumulation (small breed dogs like Yorkshire terrier, poodle, chihuahua, Maltese, etc.), regular brushing of the teeth with a toothbrush and appropriate toothpaste should be done several times a week. In addition to brushing, larger breed dogs can benefit from dental chews that contain toothpaste. Regardless of breed, dogs can benefit from being fed dental-specific kibble appropriate for their size since biting through food can help keep teeth clean.
- Brush teeth regularly for about 1 minute with flavored pet toothpaste that your dog enjoys, using a special toothbrush or even your finger. To ensure success, get your pet used to brushing when it is young and try to use the same enzymatic toothpaste which he likes. Regular brushing of teeth for dogs allows the removal of food debris as well as bacteria that is responsible for the formation of plaque. Because dental plaque on the gums can cause irritation, removing it by brushing will minimize the damage. Teeth brushing for dogs prevents dental diseases and the progression of infection.
- Give your dog treats that can naturally clean teeth and remove tartar like dental chews, chewable toothpaste tablets, liquids to combine with their water, or even enzymatic powders to mix with food that can be found at the veterinary clinic.
- Feed your pets kibble rather that soft food and use kibble adapted to the size of your pet’s mouth. Chewing will help to naturally remove dental plaque.
Beyond this dental regimen, it is best practice to have regular dental examinations and preventive teeth cleanings performed at your veterinarian’s office every few years, regardless of your dog’s breed. However, this may need to be done more regularly as your pet ages in order to avoid dental diseases. If you notice that your dog has bad breath, stains on his teeth, or a change in gum coloration, it is best to consult your veterinarian quickly in order to get a precise diagnosis and prevent any pain or discomfort.