Despite the fact that many of us experience nothing but dread when we think about going to the dentist, we still go in for regular dental check-ups every six or 12 months because we know the importance of looking after our pearly whites.
But what about dental care for your dog? Did you know that dog dental care is crucial to ensure the health and happiness of your canine? Many new dog owners are surprised to learn just how important it is to take extra-special care of your dog’s teeth and mouth. Dental disease can lead to all manner of health problems and complications in our canine friends, which is especially alarming when you consider that according to the Australian Veterinary Association, four out of five dogs over the age of three have some form of dental disease.
So, what can you do to look after your dog’s teeth and gums? And why is it vital to stay on top of dog dental care? Read on to find out.
Why is dog dental health so important?
Your dog’s mouth is a hugely important part of her anatomy. She can’t use her paws to pick things up like we can with our hands, so her mouth and teeth play a crucial role in determining how she interacts with the world around her. And if she’s got sore teeth or an aching mouth, she might have trouble eating and getting the nutrients she needs.
But if dental disease is left untreated, it can also lead to a range of even more serious health complications for your pooch. Gum disease in dogs has been linked to heart disease, kidney and liver problems and other worrying health issues, so caring for your dog’s teeth is critically important.
Signs of dog dental disease
Your dog can’t just tell you she’s in pain, so look for the following symptoms of dog dental problems:
- Bad breath
- Bleeding or receding gums
- Discoloured teeth
- Loose teeth
- A reluctance to chew or even eat
If you suspect your dog has gum disease or any other dental problem, book her in for a check up with your vet straight away.
How to care for your dog’s teeth
- Feed the right food. Feeding your dog a high-quality, super-
premium food is a simple way to look after their teeth. There are also special diets available that have been specifically designed to offer a host of dental benefits to hungry pooches — your vet can recommend these diets if your dog needs some dental help.
- Give bones and dental chews. Fresh, raw bones are perfect for promoting good oral hygiene and removing plaque from your dog’s teeth, but cooked bones should never be given as they can splinter and cause an intestinal blockage. There’s also a huge range of specially designed dental chews available. Not only do they provide a deliciously tasty snack for your dog, but they also promote health chewing and remove plaque from teeth.
- Brush your pet’s teeth once a day. Most dog owners are surprised to learn that one of the best ways to look after your pooch’s dental hygiene is to brush his teeth. In fact, brushing is the best way to keep Rover’s teeth clean and prevent dental disease, and there are even special flavoured toothpastes available to encourage dogs to open wide. If possible, get your puppy used to having his teeth brushed from a young age — it’ll make doggy dental care a whole lot easier when he gets older.
- Have regular check ups. It’s recommended that you have your vet cast their eye over your dog’s dental health at least once a year, so taking your canine companion in for an annual check up is a good idea. Your vet will be able to assess your pet’s dental health and give their teeth a proper clean, while there are even special pet dentists available who specialise in all matters of canine dentistry.
- Pet Dental Month. August in Australia is Pet Dental Month, an initiative of the Australian Veterinary Association. If you’ve never paid much attention to maintaining your dog’s teeth, August is the perfect time to take your pooch in for a dental health check up and find out what you can do to improve Rover’s teeth and gums.