Dental Health

July 31, 2014

WHY IS IT A PROBLEM?

 

We brush our teeth multiple times every day, we floss, and we use mouthwash. We do this to prevent cavities, prevent bad breath (from bacterial growth), keep our teeth white, and prevent ourselves from experiencing those horrible dental procedures!

 

Did you know that our dogs can have the same types of dental problems? Did you know that 4 out of 5 dogs over the age of 3 have dental disease? [1] They can have rotting teeth, root exposure, and gum disease. So why does it seem that canine dental health can sometimes take a backseat on the agenda? We know people have busy lives but taking care of your dog’s teeth is very important for their overall health and it doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming!

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 

  • Brushing: You can brush your dog’s teeth, just like you brush your own! This is the best solution for preventing plaque buildup. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) states that you should brush your dog’s teeth daily to keep the plaque away, improve dental health and breath. You can use a small soft bristled children’s brush, an animal-specific brush, or finger brush. If you use toothpaste make sure you use dog-friendly toothpaste and not human toothpaste. Fluoride (found in human toothpaste) is toxic to dogs.

  • Treats: Some treats like Greenies are approved by the VOHC that when used as directed will help slow plaque and tartar buildup on teeth. Plus, the dogs enjoy them!

  • Dental Chews: CET Dental Chews are rawhide chips with enzymes that help reduce plaque and tartar build up on teeth. They are sized based on your dog’s weight, so make sure you get the right size!

  • Water Additives: Some water additives like ESSENTIAL healthymouth antiplaque are recommended by the VOHC. You can put the recommended amount into your dog’s water bowl to help reduce plaque buildup.

  • Special Diets: Some prescription diets are made to help reduce plaque and tartar.

  • Increase chewing habits: Any toy that your dog can chew on will help reduce the plaque buildup. So try to play an extra game of tug, or get your dog a new bone to chew on.

 

SIGNS OF ORAL DISEASE

 

  • Bad breath

  • Excessive drooling

  • Reddening of gum line

  • Decrease in apetite

  • Inflamed gums

  • Loose teeth

  • Plaque buildup on teeth

 

If you see signs that your dog may have oral disease, go see your veterinarian! 

 

PRECAUTIONS

 

Remember that while you give your dog some something to eat, chew on, or play with he/she should be monitored.

 

Resources:

 

1. American Veterinary Dental College

 

2. Logan, E. I., Finney, O., & Hefferren, J. J. (2002). Effects of a dental food on plaque accumulation and gingival health in dogs. Journal of Veterinary Dentistry, 19(1), 15-18. Retrieved from http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/11985120

 

3. Veterinary Oral Health Council

 

4.Virbac Animal Health

 

 

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