Paying attention to your dog’s teeth early on makes a lot of sense. The sooner you start dog teeth cleaning the more he’ll get used to the idea!
If you couple good dental care with a healthy diet you’re on the right track to a dazzling smile!
Eight in ten pets have dental problems
Dental disease affects up to 80% of pets over the age of three.
Dogs start life with 28 baby teeth which fall out by the age of six months and are replaced by 42 adult teeth.
If these baby teeth don’t fall out and the permanent teeth start to grow underneath them, this can lead to problems.
How do you know if your dog has dental problems?
The most common problem in dogs is plaque and tartar build up this can lead to partial or whole tooth decay and inflamed gums.
Your pet may have really awful breath and not be able to eat or play with his toys.
There are key signs to look out for:
- Smelly breath
- Lack of appetite
- Sensitive mouth area
- Personality change
How to check and how often and how to get a dog to open its mouth?
The best way to get your dog to open its mouth:
- Have a toy or a treat at hand
- Place your hand on either side of the dog’s jaw where the jaw bone joins (this doesn’t hurt the dog but releases the jaw)
- Place your hand in the dogs mouth whilst holding the jaw
- Once you have finished give your dog a treat or the toy.
Your dog will then learn over time if you repeat the technique over and over again to allow you to put your hand in his mouth.
With some dogs this can be tricky as not all of them will be trained from a young age to let you. If your dog is prone to biting and nipping don’t try it and see your vet.
This check should be done once a week as part of the Dog Health Check, so you get used to your dog’s body inside and out.
What causes smelly breath?
More often than not bad breath in dogs is caused by dog dental problems like the build up of plaque and tarter or gum disease.
Step up the dog teeth cleaning and pay attention to his oral health.
Persistent bad breath may be the sign of other medical problems so see you vet if you are concerned.
Dog teeth cleaning
Start brushing your dog’s teeth early on at the puppy stage so he learns to expect it, if not totally love it! You can buy a special dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste.
Like with us, it’s best to clean teeth every day. There’s an incentive for dogs though instead of a minty freshness their dog toothpaste is meat or fish flavoured!
Dog toothpaste is fluoride-free so there is no harm done if your pet swallows it.
How can food help dog dental health?
Dog food can play a big part in preventing dog dental problems.
A small amount of plaque can be removed by feeding dry dog food. Make sure to match the size of the dog food with the right kibble size. This will ensure that your dog bites the kibble, and it’ll have the desired effect.
You can either feed dry food on its own, or mix the kibble with the wet dog food; the different textures and shapes help clean the teeth.
There are also some dog treats that prevent the build-up of tartar, the shape and texture of the treat may help to keep teeth clean.
Regular visits to your vet are also an important element of prevention to ensure your dog has a happy and healthy life.
Some of Butcher’s tinned dog food contains Tripe which also contains naturally occurring gastric juices and amino acids from the animal’s digestive process. Gastric juices are an excellent cleaner for your dog’s teeth.