It is a truth universally acknowledged that a dog who has had a messy adventure in a mud puddle is in obvious need of a bath. And, just like humans, your pup needs to have their teeth regularly cleaned too.
Recent studies in dog healthcare have revealed that more than 80% of dogs over the age of 3 have dental disease. Dental disease can lead to multiple issues for your dog’s health and wellbeing, but these issues can be avoided with adjustments to their regular care routine.
The trouble with dental diseases
One of the most common dental diseases is periodontal disease. When food and bacteria are allowed to accumulate on teeth it can turn into tartar (or calculus). When tartar is allowed to build up it causes inflammation of your dog’s gums, what we call gingivitis – which may sound familiar, as it’s in every toothpaste ad on television.
When dental diseases are left untreated, your dog’s teeth could fall out, they may end up with abscesses in their mouth, or develop painful complications (like fractured teeth) that require surgical intervention.
If these things sound painful – it’s because they are. Dental disease can cause chronic pain that impacts their overall health, leading to changes in behaviour and secondary complications.
Plus the more bacteria and tartar are allowed to build up in the mouth, the stinkier the breath!
Signs of dental diseases
Asides from stinky breath, you might notice your pup suffering from dental disease in the following ways:
- Redness or swelling in the mouth and on the gums
- Bleeding gums
- Difficulty with food – such as hesitating to eat, avoiding hard food, or chewing food more cautiously
- Exposure of tooth root surfaces
- Abnormal appearance of teeth, including discolouration
- Persistent scratching at the mouth
- Excessive drooling
- Loose teeth
- Avoidance of being handled around the head
- Behavioural changes
These signs can all indicate that your pup may be in pain, and it’s worth making a veterinary appointment as soon as possible to inspect their mouth for signs of dental disease
How to treat – and prevent – dental disease in your dog
There are plenty of ways to keep your best friend’s oral health in top shape.
- Daily brushing. Just as humans brush their teeth daily, your dog needs it too. Our friendly team can show you techniques to use, and recommend you with the right type of toothbrush and toothpaste. Do not, under any circumstances, use human toothpaste or adult toothbrushes. Look for specialised dog toothpaste in your local pet store – they often come with a toothbrush in the same pack, and it’s usually a choice of a handled toothbrush or one you can slide onto your finger.
- Dental chews. These ‘treats’ are designed to help clean and maintain optimum dental health for your dog by polishing your dog’s teeth as they chew them. Dental chews can be found in most pet stores, but make sure you pay attention to the ingredients (should your dog have any allergies you need to be mindful of).
- Chew toys. Treat-dispensing chews, like Kongs, or biodegradable and natural products, such as goat horns, are another excellent way to help keep your pup’s teeth and gums in good health.
- Professional clean. The team at Matraville Veterinary Practice are experienced professionals in dental and routine care for all pets. We can provide a professional cleaning service for your dog – just like you would receive if you went to the dentist.
Prevention is always best when it comes to dental disease, so even if you think you can avoid brushing your dog’s teeth most days of the week, think again.
Have more questions around cleaning and caring for your pooch’s pearly whites? The friendly staff at Matraville Veterinary Practice are here to help with everything – from advice on diet, brushing technique, and the best teeth cleaning items for your best friend’s needs. Book an appointment with us and we’ll tailor a dental care plan you can follow with confidence and ease.