Many dog owners take for granted that their dogs need help when it comes to oral hygiene. You would never allow your child to go through life without caring for his/her teeth so why would you not care for your dog’s teeth as well? Having a pet means seeing to all of his/her needs and this includes making sure that his/her teeth are kept clean and free of decay. Tooth decay is a very serious problem in dogs and leads to a number of serious problems, from bad breath to something as serious as organ failure. For this reason you should begin taking care of your dog’s teeth from the very first day you bring him/her home.
Brushing Dog’s Teeth
Brushing your dog’s teeth can be a little bit chaotic at first. This is especially true if you have just adopted an adult dog who has never had his/her teeth brushed. The most ideal time to begin brushing your dog’s teeth is when he/she is a puppy. This not only establishes a habit and gets your dog acclimated to having his/her teeth brushed but it also greatly prevents the possibility of tooth decay. Remember that brushing your dog’s teeth should become something that your dog looks forward to, not something that he/she dreads. There are many ways to get your dog interested in having his/her teeth brush but the most popular way is through positive reinforcement. This means that you should make sure there is always a treat involved in the process. Eventually your dog will make the correlation between having his/her teeth brushed and getting something yummy to eat.
Ideal Food for Dog’s Teeth
Another thing that dog owners should consider is the type of food their dogs eat. Some dog owners think they are doing their dogs a favor by spoiling them with gourmet canned foods. The truth is this is very bad for your dog’s teeth. Dogs must have something crunchy such as kibble or raw bone to help keep their teeth sharpened and cleaned. If you are feeding an all raw diet that consists of meats and meaty bones then your dog’s teeth are probably doing great as a result. However, if commercial dog food is what your dog eats, do try and keep him/her on kibble. Dog chews and treats that serve the same purpose are also important in terms of keeping his/her teeth in good shape.
Toothpaste for Dogs
It is vital that you not use human toothpaste for your dogs. There are chemicals in it that can be bad for him/her. Also, using baking soda is not recommended either. There are special toothpastes made just for dogs that can be purchased in pet stores or from your veterinarian. Make sure that you purchase quality toothpaste that is intended for use on dogs. This toothpaste may be a little more costly than human toothpaste but it is going to benefit your dog. In addition, keeping your dog’s teeth brushed with good toothpaste that was made for him/her can save you a lot of money in dental care later by preventing decay. Consider the alternative, a dog with bad teeth who winds up needing hundreds of dollars of work done. That option probably does not sound very attractive to you.
Having Dogs Teeth Professionally Cleaned
It is possible to have your dog’s teeth cleaned professionally but there are many people who never have this done. The popular consensus seems to be that if you keep your dog’s teeth clean enough at home the need may never arise. On the other hand there are dog owners who like to have their dog’s teeth cleaned every year. It is really up to the dog owner. Many times dog owners wait for their vets to prompt them that it would be a good idea to have the dog’s teeth cleaned professionally. The trouble is that having a dog’s teeth cleaned is much more complicated than going in to have your teeth cleaned. This is because the dog will have to be put under anesthesia and there is always a risk associated with anesthesia. There is a new procedure that you may ask your vet about in which dogs may be able to have their teeth cleaned without being put under.
Having Dental Check Ups
A dog should have his/her teeth looked at during every annual visit to the vet. This may be the only way to determine if there is a problem brewing somewhere in his/her mouth. Remember, dogs cannot talk to tell us that they have a toothache. We will have to find out that the dog has a bad tooth on our own. Obviously, the best way to do this is to have your vet look at your dog’s teeth every so often. You can check your dog’s teeth in between visits and look for any signs of cavities or decay but it is always a good idea to have to vet check the dog’s teeth at least annually.
How Bad Oral Hygiene Can Affect Your Dog
Tooth decay can make a dog very sick. As mentioned before, your dog cannot let you know that he has a tooth bothering him. This can lead to serious infection that you may not be aware of until it has already done horrible damage. At the first sign of a problem in your dog’s mouth you should have a vet look at it. The first sign of tooth decay is bad breath. If you notice that your dog has foul breath then have a dental check up done right away. If a tooth infection goes untreated for long enough it can result in organ failure such as that of the liver or kidneys and even heart.
It should be common sense that dogs need to have their teeth taken care of but there seem to be more pet owners who neglect their pet’s teeth than those who take oral hygiene in their dogs seriously. Your dog is only with you for such a short time anyway, it seems it would be the least you could do for him/her to ensure that the time she does spend here is as pain free and happy as possible. Having a tooth ache is awful enough when you are able to let someone know. Imagine having a bad toothache and not being able to communicate that to anyone.
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