Keep Your Dog Smiling With Preventative Dog Dental Care
What should pet owners know about dog dental care and periodontal disease? An important aspect of the good dog dental care is proper dental hygiene. One of the most common ailments treated by veterinarians is periodontal or gum disease. Gum disease is progressive. It starts out with the formation of plaque, a sticky bacterial film that forms in the mouth at the gum line. If not removed plaque will harden into tartar above and below the gum line. This build up causes the gums to become red and swollen, a condition known as gingivitis.
If gingivitis is left untreated it can lead to advanced gum disease. Red swollen gums will begin to recede as the infection travels down into the root of the tooth and the jawbone. Once the gums have receded the damage is irreversible and the gums will not grow back. This is known as periodontal disease and results in loss of bone and loss of teeth. At this advanced stage the bacteria from the oral infection may now enter the bloodstream.
This can lead to more serious problems such as heart, liver and kidney disease. These conditions if left untreated can eventually become life threatening. These problems can also be prevented by implementing a good dog dental care routine. Why should I routinely inspect my dog's mouth? By two or three years of age many pets start to show signs of oral disease. By implementing a home dog dental care routine you can assure that your dog’s mouth stays healthy, clean and pain free. Start by routinely inspecting your dog’s mouth. A healthy mouth will not smell offensive. The teeth will be clean and will not have any yellow or brown spots. The gums will be a healthy pink color and will hug the teeth. What are the signs of gum disease in dogs? Persistent bad breath, brownish deposits around the gum line, especially on back teeth, red swollen gums, loose teeth, painful and or bleeding gums are all indicators of oral disease.
Although bad breath or “doggy breath” is the most obvious sign of a problem, many pet owners fail to recognize it as an indicator of dental problems until it’s too late. As part of a good dog dental care routine check your dog’s mouth at the slightest sign of a persistent offensive odor. Other indications can be decreased appetite and weight loss, a change in chewing habits, lethargy, and pawing of the mouth or the face. What should I do if my dog's mouth shows signs of gum disease? Dog dental care starts by checking your dog’s mouth regularly. If you see any of these signs call your vet to schedule a dental exam. Your dog may just need a routine cleaning. The cleaning process is performed under general anesthesia. If the condition is minor, it’s not much different than a dental cleaning that you or I would have done. Your dog’s teeth will be scaled to remove tartar above and below the gum line and then they will be polished. Since your dog can’t rinse and spit the mouth area will be flushed to clear it of any loosened debris.
If the condition is more serious your vet may need to administer an antibiotic to clear up any gum infection before cleaning your dog’s teeth. Blood work will usually be taken so that your vet can determine if the infection has spread into the bloodstream. If the disease is in the advanced stages your vet may also need to extract some teeth. Whatever the outcome, your dog is sure to feel a lot better after receiving some much needed dog dental care. Remember to regularly inspect your pet's mouth, schedule periodic dental check ups, and perform routine home dental care. How important is home dog dental care? Regular cleanings by your vet followed up by a home dental care program can help keep your dog’s mouth healthy and disease free. Even if your dog’s teeth are currently in good condition a preventative home dental care routine is essential to your dog’s health. If not regularly removed, plaque and tartar build up can progress very quickly into full blown periodontal disease. If you’re new to dog dental care ask your vet to show you how to brush your dog’s teeth. Also find out if there is anything else that your vet would recommend adding to your dog’s preventative home dental care routine.
One recommendation is to entice your dog to chew. Daily chewing exercises will help remove food debris and prevent tartar build up. They're also great for relieving boredom and separation anxiety. So put your pet to work. Give your dog plenty of fun and yummy real bones, dental dog chew toys, and edible dog chews as part of your home dog dental care routine. Do I need to brush my dog's teeth? The most direct method of preventative dog dental care is brushing your dog’s teeth regularly. Vets usually recommend that you brush your dog’s teeth at least two times a week. If your dog is prone to dental disease you may need to do this more often. What should I use to brush my dog's teeth? If you have a young puppy introducing a tooth brushing routine will probably be much easier then if you have an adult dog.