So Fresh and So Clean! - Dental Tips for Your Dog
February is Dental Health Month for pets! I apologize for not getting a blog posted about it until now : (
A representative of the www.Money.com website recently approached me because they have an article about pet insurance posted right now. I think pet insurance is something everyone should at least consider for their pet. Writers at www.Money.com authored this guest blog about dental health tips in dogs, with a link to their article about pet insurance on the bottom. I am not being compensated to post this, and I think it is good information!
6 Tips To Check Your Dog’s Dental Health
We take our dogs to the vet each year to check their overall condition, but when is the last time you checked your dog’s teeth? Proper dental care is not only important for a dog’s teeth, but it can help avoid other health risks for your dog.
Many dogs will show signs of gum disease by the time they're three years old because they haven’t been provided with proper dental care. And, of course, preventive care is the best care of all.
Below are six ways to check and improve your dog’s dental health.
1. Look for tooth decay
Bacteria and plaque-forming kinds of food can cause plaque build-up to your dog’s teeth. The plaque can than turn into tartar and even cause the gums to recede, tooth loss, or gingivitis. If you find that your pup’s teeth are discolored, it’s time that you start to brush your dog’s teeth.
2. Smell your dog’s breath
By just sniffing your dog’s breath (maybe not right after he eats something stinky), you can get an indication if you need to see your vet. Your dog’s breath doesn’t need to smell like spearmint, it just shouldn’t be off smelling. If your dog’s breath has a foul odor, it could be an indication of a digestive problem or many different gum conditions.
3. Take a look at your dog’s gums
Your dog’s gums should be pink and firm, not red or white and there should be no signs of swelling. To properly look at your pup’s gums, make sure that your dog is facing you and then you can gently push back his lips and inspect your dog’s gums.
4. Inspect your dog’s mouth for anything unusual
If you see the following irregularities in your dog’s mouth, there could be a bigger dental issue and you should take your dog to the vet: dark red lines along the gum area, any loose teeth, extra salivation or pus, a hard time chewing food or pawing at his mouth.
5. Brush your dog teeth on a regular basis
While not all dogs take to it, it is very important to start brushing your dog’s teeth. All you need is a smaller toothbrush and a type of toothpaste that is specifically formulated for dogs. It really isn’t that different from brushing your own teeth and can be done quickly once you get the hang of it. Think of it as a good bonding time with your dog!
6. Buy chew toys for your dog
Chew toys are great for your dogs for so many reasons. It keeps your dogs’ occupied and can also make their teeth strong. Gnawing on a chew toy can also help floss your dog’s teeth as well as scrape away soft tartar.
*****NOTE: Dr. Alissa Anderson never recommends giving your dog really firm chew toys (you should be able to indent the material with your thumbnail) because there is a risk of oral injury such as a fractured tooth.
Always supervise your pet with chew toys, as ingestion can lead to life-threatening illness. PLEASE NOTE THAT PETS SHOULD HAVE ANNUAL DENTAL EVALUATIONS TO SEE IF A VETERINARY CLEANING (INCLUDING RADIOGRAPHS +/- EXTRACTIONS ARE NEEDED. DENTAL DISEASE IN PETS IS PAINFUL, JUST AS IT IS IN PEOPLE. OFTEN VETERINARIANS ARE PRESENTED WITH DOGS THAT WILL NOT EAT, AND FIND THAT THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM IS AN ABSCESSED OR INJURED TOOTH/TEETH.*****
If you see anything out of the ordinary in your dog’s mouth, make sure to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
***Dr. Anderson highly recommends clients consider getting pet insurance to help care for their animals. The greatest benefit is to get it while your pet is young, without pre-existing conditions (which usually are not covered or coverage is expensive). Typically wellness care is not covered, or may require a special add on plan.***
In fact, there are even many pet insurance plans that cover dental care which can be a big relief if your dog needs any immediate dental care or any other health care.
To learn more about pet insurance and which plans offer dental care, take a look at this guide that will answer all of your questions: https://money.com/best-pet-insurance/