The health of your dog’s teeth plays an important role in their overall well-being, but many owners forget the importance of maintaining proper oral hygiene for their canine friends.
This habit of overlooking the importance of healthy teeth is compounded by the fact that the first sign of dental disease–bad breath–is often easy to write off as a normal dog trait. Indeed, the American Veterinary Dental College estimates that most dogs have symptoms of periodontal disease by age three. Luckily, taking care of your dog’s teeth is actually very simple.
Follow these five tips to give your four-legged pal a clean and healthy smile!
5 Tips for Keeping Your Dog’s Teeth Healthy
1. Regularly Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Just as with your own teeth, brushing your dog’s teeth is one of the best ways to avoid plaque buildup and promote good oral health. Daily brushing is not necessary, particularly if your dog is resistant; however, the more frequently you brush them, the better. To get started, all you will need is a canine toothbrush and toothpaste. Note that it is important to choose a toothpaste that is specifically formulated for dogs as human toothpaste has ingredients which can be toxic to pets. If your dog is adverse to having his teeth brushed at first, train him as you would teach him to sit still for other grooming procedures such as nail trimming.
2. Use Tooth Wipes for Quick Cleanings
In between brushings, you can use tooth wipes to give them a quick clean. Many owners find these wipes easier to use on their dogs than a toothbrush and toothpaste, and they work similarly well for removing plaque from the exposed surfaces of your dog’s teeth. Keep in mind that such wipes aren’t able to get into all of the nooks and crevices that a toothbrush can and should be used to supplement–not replace–tooth brushing.
3. Give Your Dog Dental Treats
Every dog loves a treat, and dog dental treats are no exception. These yummy little snacks are designed to be enjoyed by your pup, even as they are specially formulated to remove plaque and tartar buildup, clean the mouth, promote healthy gums and freshen breath.
4. Take Advantage of Your Dog’s Love of Chewing
Dog dental treats may have special properties that boost their effectiveness at keeping your dog’s teeth clean, but all types of chewing actually benefit your canine pal’s oral health. The gnawing action helps to scrape built-up plaque off of your pet’s teeth. Moreover, enzymes naturally found in meat-based treats such as bully sticks and cow ears help maintain proper dental health. Worried about adding calories to your dog’s diet? Nylon and rubber chew toys can work almost as well.
5. Take Your Dog For a Professional Cleaning
A professional cleaning can ensure that your dog’s teeth receive the attention that they need, and your veterinary dentist can look out for any emerging oral health issues at the same time. Because even the most thorough at-home canine oral care can miss potentially serious dental health concerns, taking your pet in for a regular professional cleaning and exam is the best way to keep your dog’s teeth healthy and strong.
If you need to schedule a dental appointment for your pet, don’t hesitate to contact Atlanta Veterinary Dental Services at (770) 552-8777!