Dog Oral Hygiene

Dog oral hygiene is an important part of pet ownership and maintaining your dog's good health for years to come. If you don't take good care of your dog's teeth, he could develop serious health problems like periodontal disease and even major organ failure. Read on to find out how you can look after your dog's oral hygiene.

Brush Your Dog's Teeth 

Brushing your dog's teeth yourself at home is one of the most important things you can do to help maintain your dog's dental health. Use a toothpaste designed especially for dogs, as well as a canine toothbrush. Canine toothbrushes may have handles, or you may be able to use a small brush that fits over the tip of your finger. If your dog is too small for you to fit either brush or finger brush in his mouth, use a scrap of cotton cloth.

If possible, begin the process of training your dog to have his teeth brushed when he's a puppy. If you start when your dog is very young, he'll quickly adjust to having his teeth brushed and you'll be able to maintain his dental health far more successfully. However, if your dog is already older, don't despair. Older dogs can learn to have their teeth brushed, too, though it might take more time and patience.

Brush each of your dog's teeth individually, with a circular motion. Start in the back of your dog's mouth, with the bottom teeth. Pay careful attention to brushing your dog's teeth near the gum line, where plaque and tartar are most likely to accumulate.

Use Canine Mouthwash and Dental Treats

If your dog simply won't allow you to brush his teeth, you can still help to maintain his dental health with the help of dental treats and canine mouthwash. Dental treats can help remove plaque and tartar from your dog's teeth, while canine mouthwash helps protect your dog's teeth from decay.

You should also provide your dog with firm toys that encourage him to chew. Chewing firm toys helps to scrape plaque from your dog's teeth. Raw hide treats are a great choice to help scrape the surface of your dog's teeth.

Feed your dog dry dog food to prevent tooth decay. Moist, canned food sticks to your dog's teeth much more easily, leaving him more vulnerable to tooth decay. You might want to try dental dog food, which is slightly more moist than conventional dry dog food, allowing the nuggets to cling to your dog's teeth and scrape them all the way to the gum line. 

Seek Veterinary Dental Care

Every dog should have a yearly veterinary dental exam and teeth cleaning in addition to their yearly veterinary health check up. Puppies should have their first veterinary dental exam at around six months of age. Yearly veterinary dental exams can help identify dental problems before they become serious. Regular teeth cleaning can help significantly reduce halitosis (bad breath) and can be of great benefit in preventing the diseases associated with tooth decay.