Did you know that dogs are more than twice as likely to develop dental diseases? This is because their mouth is slightly alkaline and also because they don’t get their teeth brushed as often as we humans do. When bacteria multiplies, the problems multiply as well. This can lead to very painful situations such as tooth loss and gum diseases, in severe cases bacteria may spread throughout the dog’s body, potentially resulting in heart and liver diseases.
Keeping your dog’s mouth healthy will keep your dog healthy. Here’s how -
- Ask your veterinarian. Your vet will be most familiar with your dog’s dental health and can prescribe the best course of action should your dog develop any problems. If your dog hasn’t had a dental examination, now’s the time to do it. Oral examinations typically include dental x-rays, cleaning of the mouth (sometimes general anesthesia is administered), and washing and scaling of your dog’s teeth. Your vet can also recommend suitable treats and chews that can keep your dog’s dental hygiene in check.
- Look for the VOHC seal. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) exists to recognize products that meet pre-set standards of plaque and calculus (tartar) retardation in dogs and cats. Products are awarded the VOHC Seal of Acceptance following review of data from trials conducted according to VOHC protocols. Regular use of products carrying the VOHC Seal will reduce the severity of periodontal disease in pets.
- Dental foods. Some dog foods have properties that help clean your dog’s teeth and prevent plaque and tartar from forming. Dental foods can come in several forms, such as kibble or treats, and chews. Dental chews may contain enzymes that are released upon chewing. These enzymes help prevent plaque accumulation. Although most dogs accept this in their diets, you should first consult your veterinarian before administering dental foods to your dog. It must be noted that dental foods is not a replacement of toothbrushing.
- Chew toys. Sturdy chew toys are perfect for dental cleaning. Better yet, chew toys that enable you to hide treats (dental treats!) inside can encourage your dog to play with it more. Chew toys for dogs should be sturdy yet softer than teeth and of suitable size so it cannot be swallowed whole. Veterinarians advise avoiding cow hoofs, bones, hard rawhides and other hard objects because these may damage teeth and cause gastrointestinal obstruction when swallowed. It must be noted that chew toys are not suitable replacements of toothbrushing.
- Mouth rinses. Dental rinses help to slow the progression of gum disease in your pet’s mouth. These antimicrobial liquids contain chlorhexidine that are absorbed into the mouth’s soft tissue when squirted, killing bacteria. Consult your veterinarian for appropriate administration and approved brands of dental rinses.
- You have to help your dog. Dental health diseases are far more severe than they attention they are given. All the tips above help to keep your dog’s dental health in check, but they are not sufficient to maintain optimal dental health. Brushing your dog’s teeth and controlling its diet will help promote your dog’s dental health further.