Doggie Dental Care: What You Need To Know
Your dog's teeth are just as important as your own. The American Veterinary Dental College reports that many dogs (and cats) show signs of periodontal disease as early as three years of age, so it is important that you don't overlook the importance of your canine's oral hygiene. One of the earliest signs of dental disease in dogs is bad breath, which is why it gets overlooked—after all, dog breath is not pleasant. While your dog's breath is never minty fresh, it should never make you want to gag. Untreated dental disease can result in infections, painful abscesses, and tooth loss. With that being said, here are a few things you can do to ensure your furry friend's teeth are kept clean.
Brush Your Dog's Teeth
Some dog owners don't realize it, but it is possible to brush your dog's teeth. While this does not have to be done twice daily like humans, it should be done as frequently as possible to prevent plaque buildup. Keep in mind that you will need to build your dog up to the idea of tooth brushing.
When buying supplies, make sure that you purchase a toothpaste made specifically for dogs, as human toothpaste contains fluoride and potentially other ingredients that are toxic to dogs. Plus, you can get doggie toothpaste that comes in delicious flavors like chicken that your dog will love. You will also want to get a special canine toothbrush or a brush that will slip right over the tip of your fingertip.
Give Your Dog Dental Treats
When you aren't able to brush your dog's teeth, you can give him or her dental treats. After all, what dog doesn't love to receive a treat now and then? These dental treats are designed to remove plaque buildup and frequently contain ingredients that will freshen their breath. You can find these treats in a variety of sizes, shapes, and flavors.
Offer Your Dog a Chew Toy or Chew Treat
You may not realize it, but the majority of chews on the market contain teeth-cleaning properties. In fact, the act of chewing itself is beneficial for your canine's oral hygiene. Gnawing on something helps remove plaque from your furry friend's teeth. There are dental chew treats that contain certain enzymes that naturally promote dental health, such as bully sticks, cow ears, and chicken strips. However, if you don't want to add the extra calories to your dog's diet, you can consider chew toys like nylon or rubber bones.
Schedule Professional Dental Cleanings
Just like humans, dogs need professional dog dental cleanings. A veterinarian is experienced in locating, treating, and preventing any dental-related issues that you may be unable to notice, no matter how dedicated of an owner you are.