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Dogwood Animal Hospital

2050 Sugarloaf Parkway
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045

How To Take Care Of Your Dog’s Teeth

April 1 2024

Did you know that our canine companions can have many of the same dental problems as humans? Toothaches are just as unpleasant and dangerous for dogs as they are for us. In some ways, they are even more severe: Man’s Best Buddy can’t care for his own teeth. He also can’t book an appointment for himself, or even communicate with you about the problem. In this article, a local  Grayson, GA veterinarian explains various common dental issues in dogs and provides suggestions on how to

How Do I Care For Fido’s Teeth? 

Caring for Fido’s teeth does not have to be complicated or time-consuming. Brushing is the optimal choice, but it is not the only one.

If that isn’t working for you, There are various options for you to consider. Dental treats and chews are intended to remove plaque, minimize tartar accumulation, and thereby protect against gum disease and infection. You could also try oral rinses or dental flakes. Another option is to give Fido a chew bone, such as a Nylabone, covered in doggie toothpaste. Make sure to consult your veterinarian for advice.

Speaking of vets, you should have your canine pal’s teeth checked at least once a year, starting at the age of one. In between sessions, watch for signs of dental issues. If you notice anything wrong, call your animal clinic right away.

Finally, make sure Fido always has access to fresh, clean water. On warmer days, offer him a few ice cubes to nosh on. Just don’t give him too many!

How Should I Brush Fido’s Teeth?

Although we’ve been giving Fido chew sticks for a while, brushing his teeth is something new for many pet owners. Of course, you’ll need to get your canine companion on board with the procedure.

Here are some tips for that:

Start Early: This will be much easier if you introduce your pet to the process while he is still a puppy.  Ideally, little Fido will grow up accepting it as simply part of being a nice guy.

Take Your Time: Don’t just put the toothbrush in your dog’s mouth and hope for the best. Get him used to having his teeth and gums touched first. Use praise and treats to help him form a positive association.

Make It A Habit: Our four-legged friends often thrive when they follow a consistent schedule. Take the time to brush Fido’s teeth every day. Once your canine companion is used to the procedure, it should only take a minute or so.

Use Doggy Products: You may get toothbrushes designed exclusively for Fido. Finger toothbrushes are also acceptable and could be more convenient for you. However, do not use any products that were made for people. Our dental products are not designed to fit canine teeth or bite angles. Also, toothpastes intended for humans may contain substances that are not safe for pets.

When it comes to toothpaste, you may want to choose one that is flavored. This will make the experience more fun for Fido, and hence easier for you.

Sweeten The Deal: Although it may seem counterproductive, rewarding Fido with a treat immediately after brushing his teeth can help him form a more optimistic view of the process.

Don’t Force It: Dogs might be obstinate when it comes to getting their teeth cleaned. If Fido isn’t having it, don’t push the subject. This is not something you should force, particularly on a larger dog. It may be better to look into other options.

Are Chew Toys Good for  Dogs’ Teeth?

They are: as long as you select safe, appropriate options. It’s actually very important for your canine friend to have appropriate chew toys. These scrape plaque and food residue away from your pooch’s teeth, helping to keep them clean. They also boost saliva flow, which is good for your pet’s oral health.

There are a few aspects to consider here. Bones, as you may be aware, are controversial. Although the classic, iconic image of dogs joyously munching on them is definitely iconic, it’s also wrong. Bones are neither suitable nor safe for Man’s Best Friend. Cooked bones can break off into extremely sharp pieces. That’s incredibly hazardous. They not only pose a major choking hazard, but they can also inflict serious—and possibly life-threatening—internal injuries. Rawhide is also toxic to many dogs for the same reasons.

Raw bones are less likely to break, but they can still cause harm owing to germs and bacteria.  Ask your Grayson, GA veterinarian for specific advice.

What Are The Most Common Dental Problems In Dogs?

Fido could be at risk of a variety of dental problems. Many of the common dental issues that our canine companions endure are very similar to those that humans experience.

Here are some of the big ones:

Overcrowding: This problem is common in little canines. Small breeds simply don’t have enough space for all of those teeth! Overcrowding can cause or contribute to a wide range of issues, including sinus infections. They may also interfere with your pet’s chewing ability.

Abscesses: Hopefully, you will never experience this firsthand, but abscesses can cause agonizing pain. They can also be dangerous. While any infection has the potential to be damaging, infections in the mouth are particularly worrisome, due to their proximity to the brain.

Teeth Breakage: This is hardly surprising, considering Fido’s penchant for playing with his mouth. (His fondness for chasing sticks doesn’t help here either.)

Misalignments: Even if your canine companion’s smile is crooked, he will still be adorable. However, doggy dental care focuses on health, rather than beauty. If your pet has an overbite or underbite, he may have trouble chewing his food.

Gum Disease: Gum disease affects both people and dogs. About 80% of pups over the age of three are affected. Although the condition is initially painless and asymptomatic, it eventually results in tooth movement and loss. It may also cause gum and bone loss. Even more problematic, it has been linked to a number of serious health conditions, including heart disease. This is because illness might spread from Fido’s lips to his vital organs via his bloodstream.

Signs of Dental Problems In Dogs

Fido can’t tell you if something is wrong, so it’s important for you to keep an eye out for signs. Here are some of the important ones to watch for:

  • Bad Breath
  • Swelling
  • Ropy, Stringy, Or Excessive Drool
  • Misalignments
  • Eat More Slowly
  • Bleeding Gums
  • Tartar Buildup
  • Reduced Interest In Play
  • Visible Cracks
  • Preferring Soft Foods
  • Chewing On One Side Of The Mouth
  • Dribbling Food
  • Withdrawal/Antisocial Behavior
  • Not Wanting Face/Head Touched

If you see any of these issues, contact your veterinarian right away. Dental problems can have a significant impact on Fido’s overall health and quality of life. They can even lead to life-threatening issues. As previously mentioned, there is a risk of infection. Furthermore, oral diseases may affect Fido’s ability to chew and consume. This may result in nutritional deficits and a higher chance of choking.

Do you have any questions regarding how to care for your pet’s teeth? Have you noticed any of the warning signs listed above? Contact us, your local Grayson, GA pet hospital, today.

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