You love when Fido’s excited and playful until he projects his stinky breath in your face. Bad breath is a common problem many pet owners face with their dogs. Bad breath can be caused by an underlying disease or indication that your dog needs a diet change, but usually, it just means you need to do more for your dog’s dental health. Veterinarians report that over 87% of dogs over age 3 are affected by dental disease. In fact, periodontal disease is the most common infectious disease of adult dogs. Here are 5 tips to improve your dog's dental health.
1. Brush your dog’s teeth
If you adopt your dog as a puppy, be sure to start brushing their teeth early on so that they get used to it. Try to make it an enjoyable experience by letting them smell the toothbrush and using positive reinforcement. You will want to use dog toothpaste because regular human toothpaste can upset dogs’ stomachs. Make sure you reward them with a treat afterward. Don’t worry if you can’t get all their teeth, just stick to a brushing routine and they will slowly get more comfortable. You can also get their teeth brushed at the groomer too, which for some dogs may be the best choice. Groomers have the tools to hold their heads back, whereas, at home, some dogs may resist, or even bite.
2. Buy dental-friendly chew toys
There is a wide selection of dental-friendly chew toys on the market. As puppies, dogs need chew toys to help them through teething. It is important to make sure they have chew toys around to entertain and soothe them; otherwise, they will chew things like furniture or shoes. Adult dogs need tartar-fighting chew toys that will naturally clean their teeth as they chew. Be aware of buying too of hard chew toys or bones because that can break their teeth and cause other problems. Broken teeth can lead to pain for your dog, and necessary tooth removal, which is can be expensive because they have to put your dog under anesthesia and remove the root of the tooth.
3. Schedule your dog yearly teeth cleaning
Yearly teeth cleaning is important for a dog’s health because even though you may try to brush their teeth often, you are still not going to be able to clean that as well as a dental cleaning would. During a dental cleaning, a vet puts a dog under general anesthesia so they can safely scrape the plaque off and deep clean into the gums. They will thoroughly examine the teeth and gums. They will check for signs of infection, broken teeth, gum lesions, or other abnormalities. They can also remove any infected or loose teeth, or schedule that for later.
4. Give your dog routine mouth exams
As a pet owner, you should know the signs of dental disease and give your dog routine mouth exams by checking their teeth, gums, and lips. If you regularly check in on your dog’s teeth you will notice if brown tartar is building up or if they break a tooth. Other symptoms of dental disease can be swollen gums, loose teeth, bumps in the mouth, any signs of blood, and any signs of pain. Unfortunately, dogs cannot let us know when their teeth or mouth hurts until it’s causing them so much pain that they won’t eat or are rubbing their face, etc. By routinely checking your dog’s teeth you are more likely to catch dental issues early on. Knowing the signs of dental disease will help you work with your vet to manage and overcome it. If you don’t, dental disease can cause infections that can become fatal.
5. Consider Pet Insurance That Covers Dental Work
Teeth cleanings for your dog generally cost $500 and up, so it is smart to inquire about pet insurance plans that can alleviate some of the cost or can even spread payments out over time. Emergency teeth extractions can cost even more. It is best to explore and consider coverage options that include preventative and emergency dental work for your dog. Learn more about Dog Dental Insurance and Get a Quote today.