Humans aren't alone in dealing with the effects of poor oral hygiene. Our canine companions are also at risk of developing dental diseases and conditions. Our Yucaipa vets talk about dog dental care and ways that you can help take care of your dog's teeth and prevent serious oral conditions from occurring.
Is dental care for dogs really necessary?
Your dog's oral health is an essential element of their overall health and well-being. Our canine companions often begin showing signs of periodontal disease (gum disease) by the time they reach about 3 years of age. This early start to dental disease can have serious negative consequences for their long-term health.
In humans, studies have shown a clear link between periodontal disease and heart disease and this appears to hold true for our pets as well.
The link between heart disease and periodontal disease in dogs is believed to be due to bacteria entering the bloodstream from the mouth, damaging heart function and causing issues with other organs. These health issues are in addition to the more obvious problem of pain caused by eroded gums, and missing or damaged teeth.
If you are asking yourself 'Should I brush my dog's teeth?' then you should know that a good oral health care routine at home paired with dental treats, along with routine professional dental care, can go a long way towards controlling the buildup of plaque and tartar and preventing tooth decay.
If you don't keep up with routine care it can lead to severe complications that can affect the entirety of your dog's health.
The Benefits of Ongoing Dental Care
Caring for your dog includes keeping up with their dental health care. Here are some of the benefits of routine care for the teeth and mouth of your pup:
1. Preventing teeth from falling out
If the structures surrounding a dog's teeth become infected or damaged, this will eventually lead to loose and missing teeth. With good dog dental care, you can make sure these supportive structures remain healthy and that the teeth stay in place.
2. Protecting your pup against pain
Dental disease can be very painful for our canine companions regardless of how advanced it is. Prevent oral pain and make sure your dog's teeth keep functioning as they're supposed to by keeping your pup's teeth and gums healthy.
3. Avoiding bad breath caused by bacteria
Halitosis or bad breath is a common problem for dogs, but it's actually a sign of dental disease. While a mild odor is normal, a strong smell of fish, poop, acetone, urine, garbage, sewer or other scent can indicate trouble such as an infection or buildup of bacteria. Bad breath normally accompanies tooth decay and disease. By keeping your dog's teeth clean, you can help prevent bad breath from occurring.
4. Gum support to help prevent gum disease
The unfortunate truth is that most dogs will experience some form of dental disease by the time they are 3 years old. That said, diligent dog dental care can keep dental disease from progressing and causing problems in the rest of the body.
5. Avoiding damage and disease affecting your dog's organs
As alluded to above, dental disease can cause organ damage as a result of bacteria in plaque entering the bloodstream, traveling to the heart and spreading to organs such as the liver and kidneys. This will likely cause your dog to feel unwell quite quickly. Good oral hygiene prevents the spread of bacteria and subsequent organ damage (along with expensive procedures to correct these problems).
Are there any risks with professional veterinary dental care?
Anesthesia is typically required for any procedure that your dog has done including dental care. That's why our vets assess all pets to ensure that they are healthy enough to handle anesthesia and we conduct additional diagnostics if required to ensure that a dental exam while anesthetized is safe for your four-legged friend.
How to Clean Your Dog's Teeth
If you have a dog then you may be wondering how to clean a dog's mouth. Here, our vets offer some of the easy ways to help keep your dog's teeth and mouth clean:
- Use a finger brush from your vet, or a child’s toothbrush to brush your pet’s teeth daily to remove any plaque or debris. It's as simple as brushing your own teeth. If your dog resists having their teeth cleaned try some doggie toothpaste in flavors your pooch will find irresistible. These special toothpastes can turn a chore into a treat.
- Use a plaque prevention product (your vet can recommend some), which you can apply to your pet’s teeth and gums. These products act as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup.
- Offer your pup treats such as dental chews or food designed to help prevent plaque buildup and tartar.
At-home and professional dental care are important to the overall health of your dog. Reach out to your vet to schedule routine professional dental care for your pup today.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.