Keeping Your Dog’s Teeth Clean and Healthy
Most dogs aren’t getting proper dental care due to their owners’ unawareness of the importance of good oral health for the overall health of their pets. This clearly indicates the fact that more than three quarters of dogs have signs of oral disease by the time they turn 3 years old. And many of them are suffering pain, discomfort while eating or other health problems including life-threatening conditions. The bacteria in the mouth can spread to the bloodstream and via the latter, to other parts of the body. There, they can cause a very serious infection which, if not receiving proper and prompt treatment, can quickly become fatal.
To prevent dental problems and related complications, and keep the dog healthy and happy, every pet owner should take steps to establish proper dental care which should include:
Periodic Dental Exams by a Veterinarian.
The goal of periodic dental exams by a veterinarian is to detect any disease in its early stage and take the necessary measures to prevent it from progressing. Any health problem is treated a lot easier if detected early and besides saving the pet a lot of pain and misery, early detection and treatment also help prevent potentially serious complications such as tooth loss and widespread infection. Unless recommended otherwise by your veterinarian, you should take your dog for routine dental exam at least once every 12 months.
Following the Recommended At-Home Dental Care.
After dental exam, your veterinarian may recommend dental cleaning under anesthesia to remove plaque and tartar deposits. In addition to being unsightly and causing bad breath, plaque and tartar have also been linked to a number of dental problems including periodontal disease. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to have them removed thoroughly by a veterinarian. But it is also of utmost importance to keep your dog’s teeth clean between dental cleanings and follow the recommended at-home dental care.
Ideally, you should brush your pet’s teeth every day but if not possible for one reason or another, try to brush them as frequent as possible. You may also offer your dog a chew toy or/and specially formulated foods that help prevent plaque and tartar accumulation. But be sure to consult your veterinarian because not all products are good for your pet. Also, these products should be used only as a supplement to toothbrushing and healthy, nutritionally balanced diet.
Watching for Signs of Dental Disease.
When brushing your dog’s teeth, you should also watch for symptoms of dental disease in order to be able to intervene early and prevent potentially very painful complications. Pay especially close attention to things such as bad breath, tooth discoloration, loose teeth, red or/and swollen gums, bleeding in the mouth, lumps or tumors in the mouth and discomfort/pain when touched in the area of the mouth.
If your dog has any of the mentioned symptoms, don’t wait for the routine dental exam and visit your veterinarian as soon as possible. Other signs and symptoms which may indicate a dental problem requiring veterinary attention include refusing to eat, having difficulties eating (e.g. dropping food), not being able or refusing to close/open the mouth, drooling and weight loss.