Did you know that an estimated 85 percent of dogs over age 4 are suffering from some form of periodontal disease, a painful oral condition that can lead to tooth loss and infection? You worry about feeding your pet the right foods and getting much needed exercise but for many, oral hygiene is an often-overlooked but important factor in your dog’s overall health. If your dog has a toothache or sore gums, he may be dealing with pain or stress that you don’t even know about. Without treatment, bacteria can enter the bloodstream and affect his heart, kidneys or liver. Here are some examples below of gingivitis and periodontitis below.
So what can you do about it? For starters, regular brushing can go a long way towards towards keeping your pets mouth healthy. Get yourself a toothbrush made especially for canines or you can make a paste out of baking soda and water. Then, take a clean piece of soft gauze to wrap around your finger and rub the toothpaste on your dog’s teeth and gums in soft circles. Be careful if your dog’s gums are already inflamed as this can cause pain. Do not use fluoride with dogs under six months of age—it can interfere with their enamel formation. And don’t use human toothpaste, as it can irritate a dog’s stomach.
What if your dog doesn’t tolerate brushing?? If your dog is like mine, brushing her teeth is easier said than done. Bella likes to eat the toothpaste before I even get a chance to brush her teeth and won’t sit still to allow me to brush her teeth. Here are some other ways to work on your dog’s dental health:
- Dental Rinses/Sprays: Dental rises are an easy way to help fight plaque, maintain oral health, and freshen breath if you can’t brush your pet’s teeth. Look for sprays that don’t contain alcohol. Although you’ll pay for the privilege, they’re much safer as you do not want to give your pet alcohol-based rinses too often.
Dental Water Additives: Water additives are a simple way to help fight mouth decay in your pet. Simply add a capful to your pet’s water.
Dental Chews and Toys: A fully digestible, high quality dental dog chew will help control plaque and tartar on your dog’s teeth. The effect is similar to chewing raw bones, but safer for powerful chewers or dogs that have had restorative dental work done, and can’t chew raw bones. As your pet chews on these specially designed dental chews and toys, they are helping to rub the tartar off their teeth, which mimics the action of brushing. Chew toys can also help wipe away soft tartar and massage the gums while simultaneously preventing boredom and reducing stress.
Dental Diets: Feed a special form or dry dog kibble that is designed to improve dental health. Usually, dental care kibble is harder and more dense than regular dry food, and the pieces will be larger. This is to ensure that your dog has to bite each individual piece of kibble in order to eat it, which causes the dense fibres of the hard kibble to “brush” the teeth with every bite.
Let your dog chew on raw meaty bones. Raw meaty bones have been dog’s (other) best friend since the dawn of dog. They can wrap around some teeth and their abrasive texture has the ability to gently grind away on plaque. Make sure to avoid bones from larger animals, as well as cooked bones.Although they increase the chance of germ transmission, they can splinter more easily, causing harm to your dog’s mouth.
Dental Cleaning: Ideally, pets should have a dental cleaning once a year or as recommended by your veterinarian. During the procedure, your pet will be placed under anesthesia and their teeth will be thoroughly cleaned. Dental x-rays may be taken to see if there is any infection or damage below the gum line, fractures or cavities in the teeth. Extraction of diseased teeth may also be discussed with you and performed during the procedure.
Feed dog-safe Fresh Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs: Carrots, cucumber, celery, apples, watermelon, cilantro, and parsley are fantastic to give as natural ways to clean teeth, stimulate gums and freshen breath. Slice fruits and vegetables up and give raw as a treat or dice and add to their meals, especially cilantro or parsley because they aid in refreshening bad dog breath.ny foods or treats that are low in sugar and have an abrasive affect on the surface of the teeth can help to keep your dog’s teeth clean, such as raw bones and fibrous vegetables such as broccoli, sweet potato and squashes. You can even buy special dog treats that are intended to have an abrasive affect on your dog’s teeth, or
Add Coconut Oil to your pet’s food: Bad breath odor in dogs can be reduced or even eliminated by adding a couple of spoonfuls of organic virgin coconut oil to their food (also good for a healthy coat and skin, and helps with digestion). The lauric acid in coconut oil has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties that attack bad breath and gum disease causing bacteria.
Start incorporating some of these tips and your dog will be on their way to minty, fresh breath and a long, healthy life!