Dental Health Tips for Your Dog
Just like for us humans, your dog’s dental hygiene is an important part of their overall health. When you take care of your dog’s oral health, you can help prevent dental disease and keep dreaded bad breath at bay.
Of course, keeping your dog’s teeth clean is easier said than done. But you don’t have to be a dentist to help your dog practice good dental care at home.
Let’s dive into the importance of dental care for dogs and the steps you can begin taking today to improve your pet’s health.
Why Does Your Dog’s Dental Health Matter?
According to Dogs Naturally, over 70% of dogs and cats will suffer periodontal disease by the age of two. Needless to say, dental problems are by far one of the most common conditions seen and treated by veterinarians.
Dental disease in dogs is so widespread because it’s often hard to spot, and many pet owners don’t know how to care for their dog’s teeth until it’s too late.
The most prevalent dental problem among dogs is periodontal disease. As Dr. Judy Morgan explains, this disease is the inflammation of the gums and bones around the teeth. There are four stages of periodontal disease, meaning the earlier it’s treated the better. In the most severe instances, it can spread deep into the tooth socket and lead to tooth loss and is a risk factor in heart, kidney, and liver disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this gum disease is caused by bacteria buildup on the teeth and gums. This eventually leads to plaque and tartar buildup which spreads below the gum line and can only be removed by a professional. Luckily, periodontal disease is highly preventable with the right oral hygiene.
As you can see, taking care of your dog’s teeth is extremely important. By incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine, you can help your pet live a healthy life and avoid costly vet visits.
Dog Dental Care Tips
Taking charge of your dog’s dental care can feel like a daunting task, but a few changes to your routine can make all the difference.
Here are some dog dental care tips you should consider.
Switch to a Raw Diet
Your dog’s diet plays a role in their dental health. You may see some dry food that promises to prevent and scrape away plaque buildup. However, these dry dental care dog foods can cause more harm than good.
Dogs Naturally Magazine explains that the high levels of sugars and simple carbohydrates in kibble provide rapidly available nutrition for oral bacteria. Additionally, the poor nutrient quality in most commercial dog foods doesn’t support your dog’s immune system. This combination makes for the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to thrive, leading to plaque and tartar, bad breath, and, if left untreated, dental disease.
The raw diet for dogs is packed with nutrients and is the diet they were biologically designed to eat. The combination of raw meaty bones and organ meat can help prevent buildup on their teeth since it doesn’t stick to teeth as carbohydrates do. Plus, raw foods contain naturally occurring enzymes that help protect the teeth and gums.
Brush Their Teeth Daily
Brushing your dog’s teeth daily is a great way to prevent buildup and bad breath. Dogs Naturally Magazine provides a great guide for how to brush your dog’s teeth to make it a positive experience.
Some important things to keep in mind are that you should never use human toothpaste. Find a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically for dogs that are safe for them and make it easier to reach all their teeth.
Patience is key when forming this habit. It’s a new experience for you and your dog, so you may need to slowly introduce the toothbrush and always make sure to praise and reward your pup for their cooperation. Over time, it can become a daily habit!
Provide Chew Toys
Between veterinary cleanings, chew toys can help prevent plaque and tartar build-up too. Of course, not all chew toys are created equal. You want to avoid any chew toys that are too hard or dangerous, like cooked bones, that have the potential to break your dog’s tooth or splinter. As an alternative, you can try raw meaty bones which are safe and a good source of calcium and other nutrients, according to Perfectly Rawsome.
Veterinarians.org also provides a great list of safe teeth-cleaning dog toys to try.
With these dog dental care tips in mind, you’re on your way to helping your dog live their best life.
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