Would you let months go by without brushing your teeth? Imagine what it’s like for your dog. If he’s more than three years old, he may be among the 80% of dogs with gum disease. It’s the most common disease among dogs and cats. February is Pet Dental Health Month and it’s a good time to learn more about why your dog’s dental health is important. First, let’s review a few warning signs:
- Bad breath
- Pain when chewing or a reluctance to chew
- Excessive drooling or saliva
- Red or puffy gums
- Bleeding gums
- Tartar build up (usually brown or yellow)
- Loose or missing teeth
These signs may indicate gum disease, which could lead to tooth loss, bone loss and other serious health issues, including heart, liver and kidney damage. One way to prevent this is to take Fido to the vet for yearly professional cleanings. With advances in veterinary dentistry, teeth cleaning, extractions and surgery are more common. These procedures may involve anesthesia, but new, short-acting anesthetics make it safer for your dog.
But if you want to avoid surgery or advanced treatment, focus on the basics of good doggy dental care:
- Brush your dog’s teeth – Using pet toothpaste and a pet toothbrush, gradually get your dog used to having his teeth brushed.
- Provide a healthy diet – If your dog is on a wet dog food diet, be especially careful to brush your dog’s teeth consistently.
- Provide dental treats and toys – Offer treats and toys that are designed to reduce plaque on your pet’s teeth.
- Occasionally inspect your dog’s mouth – Look for any plaque buildup and watch for the warning signs mentioned above.
- Visit the vet for yearly dental care – Just as you get a dental health check every year, your dog should too.
By following these tips for healthier teeth and gums, you’ll improve your dog’s quality of life and help him stay healthy.
Need dog dental care products? Visit your local Pet Supermarket for these items and more.