Dental Care for Dogs

Dental care for dogsDental care for Dogs

Fact: 80% of dogs have some form of dental disease by the time they are 3!

How would you feel if you didn’t brush your teeth for a week? Maybe a month? Maybe never? You’d have a constant unpleasant taste in your mouth, your tongue would feel hairy and your mates would start talking to you through closed windows. Well, it is exactly the same for our pooches. If you never brush their teeth, the bacteria will build up in their mouths causing havoc over time and potentially leading to serious health problems, not to mention that when they get close to you, your stomach will churn from their breath!

Dental hygiene for dogs is just as important as for human. And prevention is better, easier and cheaper! It’s more fun for your dog and it will save you £100s if not £1,000s in vet bills! You need to take steps from a young age to ensure healthy teeth and lack of diseases for a long time!

BUT – Wolves don’t brush their teeth?!!

That is true but our dogs are mostly fed a diet that is easy to chew whilst wolves and wild dogs eat entire carcasses, chewing up the bones, the tendons and ligaments, which basically brush and floss their teeth for them.

Whilst raw fed dogs tend to have healthier teeth, it is still advisable to brush your dog’s teeth regularly regardless the diet he is on.

If you think a bit of bad breath won’t kill anyone, think again

Gum diseases start slowly and without any obvious signs. If the teeth are never brushed, the harmful bacteria will eventually outweigh the good bacteria causing inflammation, redness and bad breath (often these are the first signs). Over time, plaque formation begins and if plaque isn’t removed, it will turn into calculus (tartar – the hard, browny yellow substance on your dog’s teeth). Tartar is the perfect surface for even more plaque to stick to, speeding up the whole process. Dental disease, especially when it’s severe, can be quite painful for dogs.

Additionally, bacteria in the plaque can enter the bloodstream and spread to other organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver. This spread of bacteria can damage organs and make dogs quite sick.

Dental disease can be painful, but most animals are extremely good at covering up the signs and will rarely stop eating.

Signs to look out for:

  • difficulty picking up food
  • bleeding or red gums
  • loose teeth
  • blood in saliva, on water bowl or on chew toys
  • strange noises when eating
  • pawing at mouth/face
  • dribbling

OK, as a good dog-parent you want to prevent gum disease, but not sure what the best dental regime is?! Here’s our easy-to-follow tips:

  1. Daily brushing
    Nothing is more effective than daily brushing. It is best to start it from a young age but that’s not to say that you can’t get your elderly dog into the habit. If you have never done it before, just go slowly! First let your dog get used to the brush and/or the toothpaste. Let them sniff it and lick the toothpaste without any attempt to brush their teeth. Do this for 2-3 days and then slowly move the toothbrush or your finger into their mouths and brush a few teeth or just massage the gum. Over a couple of weeks increase the amount of teeth you brush and the time you spend on it until your pooch is totally comfortable with it. A good kit to start with is the Tropiclean one as it has all what you need.

    Your can use soft baby toothbrush, a doggy toothbrush or just your finger. Fingerpads are also available and some people find these much easier to use. There is no one size fits all so just see what works for you and your dog.

  1. Dental chews
    Natural dental chews such as Pigs’ ear, Cows ear, Beef lips, Buffalo skin, etc are great addition to your dog’s dental regime. Not only do they taste delicious but they are also free of any nasties and will keep your woofer entertained. If you are looking for long lasting chews, you can get some Yak bars, No-hide chews or the above mentioned totally natural chews. My elderly dog (13 years) struggles with the Yak bars unless Sparky the pup has already done the hard work and he managed to pinch it (which is accompanied by some very loud complaints from Sparky). However, he has no problems with the No-hide chews so they are definitely winners in our house!

    Don’t forget to ensure that the dental chews are the correct size for your dog; if they are too small they can be a choking hazard. Bear in mind that many dental chews can be high in calories; reduce your dog’s normal food intake accordingly so that they don’t put on weight. Alternatively you can opt for low-calorie chews like the No-hide chews, Calf hooves or Venison/Buffalo skin, just to mention a few.

  2. Little extras
    There are products that you can add to the water or mouthwashes that help reduce dental plaque, but don’t forget daily tooth brushing is by far the best way to keep your pet’s teeth healthy.

    Lickimats are also great for preventing bacteria building up on the tongue and causing bad breath. Our PAW Lickpad is especially great as it comes with suction pads so you can stick it on the tiles whilst you are showering your dog!

    I haven’t yet met a dog who didn’t love licking doggy peanut butter off their lickipad.

Remember, many pet insurance policies don’t cover dental work, so it’s even more important to look after your pet’s teeth!

I hope all the above is helpful, but if you want to know more send me an e-mail. We’d love to see your dogs showing off their snow-white teeth so why not send us a pic?

Detti

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