Dog tooth care is a big part of my dog’s overall health care, but I will admit that I do get a lot of chuckles when I mention to people that I brush my dog’s teeth and take him to the vet for treatments. Dental disease in dogs, however is no laughing matter and there can be serious health issues related to poor dental hygiene as the bacteria from infected gums and teeth can “spread” to other parts of the body and affect vital organs such as the heart, kidneys and intestines.
Does Your Dog Have Bad Teeth?
To tell if your dog has bad teeth, lift up his lips and check his teeth at the gumline – can you see tarter? Are the teeth white or discolored? Does his breath smell? Are there broken teeth?
All of these can indicate the need for better dog tooth care. Your veterinarian will probably do a dental check as part of they yearly checkup and can advise you as to the extend of the problem, if any.
Providing Better Dog Tooth Care
Chewing on raw bones can be a good way for your dog to remove built up tarter. I would advise against cooked bones as they can splinter and cause damage to the gums or intestine if swallowed. There are also some manufactured bones that are specially formulated for dental care.
Brushing Your Dogs Teeth
Brushing is a vital part of dog tooth care and should be done at least once a week. There are plenty of flavored toothpastes formulated for dogs that your pet will love the taste of. You can use a finger brush (a rubber piece that fits on the end of your finger with bristles), a hand held brush that looks much like a human tooth brush, or a little brush that fits on the end of a “ring” which you put on your finger. I have a tiny dog with a small mouth and I find the “ring” brush works best for me.
This procedure is done by your veterinarian and is pretty much the same thing as the scaling you get at the dentist. The teeth are scraped and polished and any loose or badly damaged teeth are removed. Your dog is put under anesthesia for this procedure and it is quite costly. Proper brushing will limit the need for this to be done.