The American Veterinary Dental Society states that periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats in the United States. It is estimated that by the age of 3, most dogs have some degree of dental disease. In fact, up to 80% of dogs over the age of 3 have some form of dental disease, including gum disease.
It is, therefore, crucial to provide your dog with proper dental care to prevent gum disease and other dental problems, which can lead to tooth loss, abscesses, and even sepsis.
So, what are the steps needed to keep your dog’s oral health in top condition?
Brush Your Dog’s Teeth Regularly
Brushing your dog’s teeth each day is one of the most effective ways to keep their teeth and gums healthy. While you should brush your dog’s teeth every day, even cleaning them 2-3 times a week can make a difference in their oral health. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, finger toothbrush, and dog-friendly toothpaste, which comes in a variety of flavors your dog will enjoy.
To train your pup to have their teeth brushed, start by letting your dog smell and taste the toothpaste, and then gently lift their lip and brush the teeth in a circular motion. Be sure to give them lots of fuss and praise, too, as this will make the process easier for them.
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Schedule Regular Dental Check-ups
Regular dental check-ups with your dog’s veterinarian are essential for maintaining your dog’s oral health. Your vet can check for signs of dental problems, like periodontal disease, tooth decay, and oral infections. They can also provide professional cleaning and scaling to remove tartar build-up that cannot be removed through brushing alone. And, of course, if they spot an issue, they will know how to treat it!
Provide Dental Chews and Toys
Dental chews and toys can help to remove plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth, keeping them clean and healthy. Look for chews and toys that are specifically designed to promote dental health, such as those made from rawhide or nylon. You can also find dental treats that contain enzymes to break down plaque and reduce bad breath. Plus, it’s a treat, so there should be an issue with your dog enjoying it!
Feed a Healthy Diet
Your dog’s diet can also have an impact on their dental health. Feeding a high-quality diet that’s rich in nutrients can help to keep your dog’s teeth strong and healthy. Avoid feeding your dog table scraps and sugary treats, as these can contribute to tooth decay and other dental problems.
Also, while it is tempting to just give your dog soft foods, giving them a portion of biscuits once a day can also help with the removal of plaque and debris from their teeth.
Monitor Your Dog’s Chewing Habits
Some dogs are aggressive chewers, which can put their teeth at risk of cracking or breaking. Monitor your dog’s chewing habits and make sure they’re not chewing on hard objects that could damage their teeth. Offer safe chew toys and bones that are specifically designed for dental health, and never allow them to chew golf balls!