Dental Care for Dogs

Dental care for dogs is as important as for humans. A poor dental hygiene may lead to tooth decay and gum or periodontal disease. Dog dental care should be part of a daily routine; brush your dog's teeth and offer some dry chew treats that will keep your dog's teeth clean.

Gum and Periodontal Disease

Food residues can get stuck between the dog's teeth and if they are not removed, plaque will be formed. Plaque is a mix of bacteria, saliva and food residue.

If plaque is not removed, in the following 2 to 3 days, the deposits of plaque will mix with the minerals in the saliva and form tartar, which can only be removed by a vet.

Tartar, also known as calculus, can cause gum disease and periodontal disease. Gum disease is painful, causing inflammation or even tooth loss.

Brushing Teeth

Tooth brushing is the safest way to prevent gum and periodontal disease.

To prevent these diseases, you need to brush your dog's teeth daily. Use veterinary toothpaste or gel and a pet or children toothbrush. If your dog is less cooperative, you may use your finger instead of a toothbrush.

The toothpaste needs to be appealing for dogs, so opt for liver, fish or meat flavored pastes. Don't use tooth pastes for humans.

Hold the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to the dog's teeth and brush gently. Make sure to clean each tooth.

Dogs are typically uncooperative when it comes to teeth cleaning, so make sure to use positive reinforcement and treats to get your dog used to a daily brushing.

Chew Treats

There are numerous chew treats that are meant to reduce the plaque and calculus from your pet's teeth. These treats are dry and abrasive and will remove the residues from your dog's teeth. Choose treats that are high in protein and fat content and low in carbs.

Chew Toys

Just like chew treats, chew toys that are harder will help cleaning the dog's teeth, reducing the buildup of plaque and tartar. Rubber toys, tennis balls or ropes are recommended for dental care.

Make sure the toys are not too hard, as these may cause teeth fractures.

Talk to your vet about the best chew toys recommended for your dog.

Kibble Food

The type of food your dog gets is important for dental care. Wet food may easily get stuck between the dog's teeth and may not be the best choice for a proper dental care.

Kibble or dry food is recommended for dental care due to the abrasive properties of the bits that can scrape the plaque and tartar buildup from the dog's teeth.

If your dog is on a wet food diet, make sure not to miss out on the daily teeth brushing or include some chew treats.

Proper dental care will prevent the occurrence of halitosis or dog bad breath. In addition to regular tooth brushing and chew toys and treats, make sure you visit a dentist once per year; he will perform a thorough cleaning while the dog is under anesthesia.

There are also a few medical conditions that present early symptoms in a dog's mouth and the vet may recognize these.