Canine Dental Care
Dental disorders are some of the most common health maladies that vets treat in dogs--in fact, over 75% of dogs three years of age or older come down with some kind of dental problem. Did you know that dental disease is highly preventable? Most dental issues can be avoided entirely with good preventactive healthcare.
Canine Dental Diseases
The most common canine dental disease is periodontitis, which occurs when plaque--a mixtue of food, saliva and bacteria--hardens on your dogs's teetch and becomes tartar. The substance then irritates the gum around the tooth, causing reddened gums (gingivitis), bleeding, tooth loss and bad breath. If bacteria gets into bleeding gums, it can enter the bloodstream and damage your dog's heart or kidneys. Broken or fractured teeth are also common in dogs, especially those who tend to chew on hard objects. Broke or bleeding teeth will require veterinary attention right away.
Professional Dental Care
Your dog's teeth and gums will be checked out by your vet every time your dog has a regularyly-scheduled examination. Most dogs benefit from dental exams at least twice a year. A proffesional dental cleaning is also necessary once in awhile. If your vet discovers ginigivitis, tater accumulation or other problems, they will probably recommend a cleaning. Your dog will have to go under anesthesia for the procedure, during which all tooth surfaces are carefully cleaned with specail instruments to prevent the formation of plaque and tart. Fluoride and other preventative measures may also be part of your dog's professional cleaning.
Brushing Your Dog's Teeth
By starting slowly and having you dog associate positivity with tooth brushing, you can clean your dog's teeth from the comfort of your own home. Start by massaging your dog's teeth and gums gently with your finger. You may want to try dipping your finger in broth to make it more palatble and entie your dog to accept the sensation. Over a period of weeks, you can introduce a dog-specific toothbrush with specially-formulated pet toothpaste to gently clean the outside tooth surfaces. Never use human toothpaste, as it can cause irritation and upset your dog's stomach if they swallow it. Since plaque begins developing mere hours after brushing session, most vets recommend daily brushing for your dog. Ask your vet for further advice regarding the products and prcedures to use.
Toys, Treats, Diet
Keep in mind that your dog's diet has alot to do with his or her oral health. Some dogs even benefit from specially-formulated dental diets, so ask your bet about these options. Chew toys are also important for scraping off plaque and tartar and some dog treats can even help slow the formation of these substances.