As with any animal, good oral health is crucial to your dog’s overall health. Regular brushing your dog’s teeth will not only prevent bad breath, but also reduce the risk of serious health problems, such as abscesses. It is worrisome to note that the bacteria in an abscess can spread rapidly through the body and affect the heart, kidneys, liver and brain through the bloodstream. It is therefore crucial that your dog’s dental health is properly treated. Below you will find tips on brushing a dog’s teeth and other methods to take care of your dental health.
Effects of poor dental care
Unlike humans, dogs rarely have cavities. Instead, the most common problems in a canine mouth are gingivitis, which is an inflammation of the gums, and plaque, which is an accumulation of bacteria caused by food debris between the teeth and along the gums. Of course, as mentioned above, this can lead to an abscess, which can have extremely harmful and even fatal effects.
Of course, brushing, which helps remove plaque, is the best way to prevent these potential health problems.
Brushing your dog’s teeth
It is advisable to start brushing a dog’s teeth from an early age, partly because it will help him get used to the activity, but also because it is a good idea to be aware of your dog’s dental health from the beginning.
There are toothbrushes specially designed for dogs, which you can find in most pet stores. However, a soft bristle brush for children will work just as effectively. However, human toothpaste should never be used for your dog. Dog toothpastes are available in pet stores or from your local veterinarian.
Some dogs are reluctant to brush their teeth, so they need to be trained so that they can be handled in this way from an early age. When training your dog, start with small steps, such as opening his mouth. Be sure to offer lots of praise for allowing yourself to do so. Then start brushing the sides of the teeth, again a lot of praise should be given. When your dog is comfortable, increase the surface area and the time you spend brushing him. If at any time your dog is in distress, stop and give him time to calm down before starting again.
It is a good idea to pay special attention to your dog’s upper back teeth, as they will be the first sign of plaque accumulation.
Treats Dental Care
Crunchy treats and those specially designed to improve your dog’s dental health are ideal for removing food between the teeth and leaving the gums healthy. In general, crunchy foods are better for your dog’s dental health than soft, canned or bagged foods, so you can add a blender to wet foods. Otherwise, make sure your canine companion has a crispy treat after each meal.
Prophylaxis is a deep cleaning that is done under anaesthesia. A veterinarian will take x-rays, carefully examine each tooth and remove any abscesses or infections. Then, the teeth and gums are thoroughly cleaned.
This treatment may be necessary when you adopt a rescued dog, as his dental health is often poorly treated. In addition, older dogs are likely to have problems with their teeth and gums and may require prophylaxis. However, since prophylaxis requires an anesthetic and anesthesia is always risky, it should not be used as an alternative to regular brushing and home dental care.
Even if your dog doesn’t like it, it’s essential that you clean his teeth regularly. If you have difficulty training your dog to accept brushing, seek the help of a veterinarian or obedience trainer.