Dogs need dental care!
Unfortunately, dental hygiene for dogs
is sometimes overlooked.
Many people seem to just expect dogs
to have bad breath, and few people brush their dog’s teeth
frequently or do not brush at all.
Dental hygiene is just as important to your dog’s
overall health as things like nutrition or proper exercise.
Help keep your dog healthy and pay attention
to those pearly whites!
10 things you need to know
about Doggy Dental Care
1. The Breath Test
Sniff your dog’s breath. Not a field of lilies?
That’s okay, a normal doggy breath
isn’t particularly fresh smelling.
However, if his breath is especially offensive
and is accompanied by smell or iron (blood),
a loss of appetite, vomiting or
excessive drinking or urinating,
it’s a good idea to take your dog to the vet.
2. Check the Mouth
Once a week, with your dog facing you,
lift his lips and examine his gums and teeth.
The gums should be pink, not white or red,
and should show no signs of swelling.
His teeth should be clean, without any brownish tartar.
3. Signs of Oral Disease
The following are signs that your dog
may have a problem in his mouth
or gastrointestinal system
and should be checked by a veterinarian:
Bad breath, excessive drooling, inflamed gums,
tumors in the gums, cysts under the tongue or loose teeth
4. Tooth Decay
Bacteria and plaque-forming foods
can cause build-up on a dog’s teeth.
This can harden into tartar, possibly causing gingivitis,
receding gums and tooth loss.
Only way to prevent this is by regular teeth cleanings.
5. Canine Tooth Brushing Kit
Get yourself a toothbrush made especially for canines.
Ask your vet for a toothpaste made especially for dogs.
Never use human tooth paste with dogs!
There are a lot of different dog toothbrushes available.
Personally I like the ones
you can fit on your finger
and I use special chewing toys
to do the rest of the work for me
6. How to start brushing
Taking these steps will make brushing
a lot easier for the both of you:
First get your dog used to the idea
of having it’s teeth brushed.
Massage the lips with your finger
in a circular motion for 30 to 60 seconds
once or twice a day.
Then move on to her teeth and gums.
When your pooch seems comfortable
being touched this way,
put a little bit of dogtoothpaste
on her lips to get her used to the taste.
A lot of doggy toothpastes
will have a nice taste to them for dogs
so they will see it as a treat
Next, introduce a toothbrush
designed especially for dogs.
Toothbrushes that you can wear
over your finger are also available
and allow you to give a nice massage
to your dog’s gums (see video).
7. Brushing Technique
Yes, there is actually a technique!
Place the brush at a 45-degree angle
to the teeth and clean in small, circular motions.
Work on one area of your dog’s mouth at a time,
lifting her lip as necessary.
The side of the tooth that touches the cheek
usually has the most tartar,
and giving a final downward stroke
can help to remove it.
Once you get the technique down,
repeat this once or twice a week.
When you give raw foods
you will have to do this more often
if not every day.
Getting familiar with the possible mouth problems
your dog may encounter will help you determine
when it’s time to see a vet about treatment,
the most common dental problems are:
This is a painful infection
between the tooth and the gum
that can result in tooth loss and spread infection
to the rest of the body.
Signs are loose teeth, bad breath, tooth pain,
sneezing and nasal discharge.
This can cause infection of the heart valves (endocarditis),
liver, and kidneys.
An inflammation of the gums
caused mainly by accumulation of plaque,
tartar and bacteria above and below the gum line.
Signs include bleeding, red, swollen gums and bad breath.
It is reversible with regular teeth cleanings.
Bad breath, can be the first sign of a mouth problem
and is caused by bacteria growing from food particles
caught between the teeth or by gum infection.
Regular tooth-brushings are a great solution.
Develop when tartar builds up and food
gets stuck between the teeth.
Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth at home
and getting annual cleanings at the vet
can prevent tartar and gingivitis.
Proliferating gum disease
Occurs when the gum grows over the teeth
and must be treated to avoid gum infection.
An inherited condition common to boxers and bull terriers,
it can be treated with antibiotics.
Appear as lumps in the gums.
Some are malignant and must be surgically removed.
Look like large, fluid-filled blisters under the tongue,
but can also develop near the corners of the jaw.
They require drainage, and the damaged
saliva gland must be removed.
9. Chewing Toys
Chew toys can satisfy your dog’s
natural desire to chew,
while making his teeth strong.
Gnawing on a chew toy
can also help massage his gums
and help keep his teeth clean
by scraping away soft tartar.
Make sure to only use toxin free
nylon and rubber chew toys.
Gnawing also reduces your dog’s
overall stress level, prevents boredom
and gives him an appropriate outlet
for his natural need to chew.
10. Diet for Healthy Teeth
In some extreme cases
the dental home care will not be enough.
Ask your vet about a specially formulated
dry food that can slow down
the formation of plaque and tartar.
Also, avoid feeding your dog table scraps,
instead giving him treats that are specially formulated
to keep canine teeth healthy.
Dental Cleaning by Your Veterinarian:
To prevent dental disease,
your dog needs routine dental care at home.
But to perform good home care,
you need to start with clean teeth.
Brushing will remove plaque but not tartar.
So if your dog’s teeth have tartar,
it is necessary for your veterinarian
to remove it and polish the teeth.
This professional veterinary dental cleaning
is often called a prophylaxis or “prophy.”
A routine dental cleaning consists of:
* Anesthetizing your dog.
* Taking radiographs (x-rays) to assess the health
of all of the teeth and bones of the mouth.
* Flushing the mouth with a solution to kill the bacteria.
* Cleaning the teeth with handheld and ultrasonic scalers.
All calculus is removed from above and below the gumline.
This is extremely important and can only be done
if the animal is under anesthesia.
* Using a disclosing solution to show
any areas of remaining calculus
which are then removed.
* Polishing the teeth
to remove microscopic scratches.
* Inspecting each tooth and the gum around it
for any signs of disease.
* Flushing the mouth, again,
with an antibacterial solution.
* Optionally, applying a dental agent
to retard plaque build up.
* Recording any abnormalities or
additional procedures on a dental chart.
Very important for Bulldogowners:
Most Bulldogs can not tolerate
certain methods of anesthesia,
due to their flat faces they need more monitoring
and need special sedation procedures
(like having the dog tubed all times).
Always ask your vet about this!
It happens to often that a Bulldog dies
because of wrong anesthetics,
make sure you go to a vet
who is specialized in brachycephalic breeds
(shortnosed/flat faced dogs).
The best way is to prevent,
clean your dog’s teeth daily
so a visit to the vet and anesthetics are not necessary
An example of a vet cleaning bulldog’s teeth without anesthesia
You keep your Bulldog Smiling 😀
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