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Today is: Wednesday January 17, 2018

Dental Care For Your Dog

An often overlooked area of your dog's health, happiness, and overall well-being is his teeth.  Did you know that 85 percent of dogs (and cats) over four years of age have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a painful inflammatory condition in which bacteria attack the gums, ligament and bone tissues that surround and support the teeth.  Signs of periodontal disease are:

  • Bad breath

  • A yellowish-brown crust of plaque on the teeth near the gum line

  • Red, swollen gums

  • Pain or bleeding when your pet eats or when his mouth or gums are touched

  • Decreased appetite or  difficulty eating

  • Loose or missing teeth

If your dog shows any of these signs it is important that you take him to the vet as soon as possible so that a plan of action can be implemented.

Many people don't include this as a part of regular grooming and preventive medicine. But, not regularly brushing your dog's teeth can cause many problems for him. Prevention begins at home! If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause serious damage to the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver and the brain.  These are only a few of the reasons why it is so important to take good care of your dog's teeth.

A good dental care program includes:

  • Daily home care

  • Regular oral exams by his vet

  • Veterinarian dental cleanings

  • Routine exams at home for signs of Periodontal disease

Before you begin you must have a toothbrush and toothpaste that are specifically designed for dogs. Regular toothbrushes are too rough for his teeth and regular toothpaste will upset his belly.  You should try to brush his teeth once a week. It may take a while for your dog to accept getting his teeth brushed. Be patient and gentle and praise him often.  Most dogs will need to have their teeth professionally cleaned by the vet once a year.

Ideally your dog's teeth should be cleaned by the vet before starting.  Get his toothbrush (the one designed just for dogs) and place a small amount of dog toothpaste on it. Start by brushing just his front teeth, once he becomes used to this you should keep going back in his mouth until you are brushing all of his teeth. Brush his teeth like you would you own, on his top teeth brush with a downward motion and on the bottom teeth brush with an upward motion.  If he has a hard time with you putting a toothbrush in his mouth, start with your finger (with toothpaste on it) when he is o.k. with this try the toothbrush.

There are other alternatives to brushing his teeth, although brushing is best.  There are many good products in the market that will help keep tartar and plaque down. Bones and rawhides are good alternatives. There are also chews and toys that you can buy.

This site and its contents are intended to serve as basic informational purposes 
 --not a substitute for-- 
professional veterinary care!


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