February is National Pet Dental Health Month and a great opportunity to go over the importance of keeping a dog’s teeth and gums clean. Oral care in dogs is extremely important and often forgotten in our busy lives. No worries if you haven’t already started brushing your dog’s teeth you can begin now, just add it to your daily routine. Products on the market today take all the work out of it over traditional brushing methods, making it easier to clean our dog’s teeth and better for those on a busy schedule.
Again in Frenchie genetics, they are more likely to develop dental problems than most breeds because of the teeth crowding and underbite. Meaning we definitely should be taking the extra steps to ensure they get the proper oral care. With prevention and care, we can minimize their chances of being diagnosed with dental disease later on.
Oral Care in Dogs…Why it’s Important
Dental Care for our pets is just as important for their health as it is for us humans. Unfortunately, it is often one of the most overlooked areas when it comes to keeping our pets in tip-top shape. According to WebMD, 78% of dogs over age 3 had some sort of dental disease, and it is the most common health issue concerning canines.
Signs to look for include plaque or tartar, inflammation of the gums, damage to tissue, tooth abscess, or loose and or broken teeth. Keeping our dog’s teeth healthy now will save them from potentially fatal consequences later. If we don’t properly care for them dental infection can lead to it affecting their liver, lungs, kidneys, or heart. Some pretty serious problems that can be easily prevented with just a few minutes now each day.
The AAHA has outlined guidelines for you to follow when it comes to the appropriate times for getting a dog’s oral health checked professionally. They recommend having a dog’s puppy teeth examined and then regularly examined yearly as your pet ages. It is also recommended having professional cleanings done under general anesthesia annually beginning at one year for cats and small breed dogs and 2 for large breed dogs. You can see the AAHA’s dental guidelines here. We really should consider these guidelines and take our pets oral health seriously.
Even if you feed a raw diet, canned or dried food which can help with a dog’s overall dental health it is not going to completely take care of the issue in the overall prevention of dental disease. Daily care like teeth brushing and treats can often provide the best cleaning for a dog’s teeth in addition to their diet. It’s our responsibility as a pet owner to take the extra time and steps to ensure we are giving them the best oral care, combining these things will give you the best results.
Dental Care at Home
A good time to introduce the toothbrush or finger brush to a dog is going to be a time when they are relaxed. Start by letting a dog get familiar with the toothpaste and toothbrush. By introducing it slowly, it will make him less likely to get nervous and uncooperative. You could even choose to let a dog lick a little toothpaste off of the brush before you begin so he gets used to the taste. Fortunately, the toothbrushes are designed so that we don’t really have to hold their mouths open to get them brushed. Pay close attention to the back teeth and gently brush.
Set up a routine with a dog so he becomes accustomed to it, naturally, he will know what to expect each day. Dogs are just like children when it comes to having a routine, they like it. Going on a schedule can also reduce anxiety and stress for both you and a pet.
If Your Dog Is Not Having it…
If you have tried a toothbrush and can’t get a dog to cooperate there are many other products designed so that you don’t have to let a dog’s oral health go. A finger brush can be easier to use and feels more natural to use and gives you a better feel for a dog’s teeth over a traditional toothbrush. Bulb Head has a Vegan-Friendly Natural teeth cleaning system that I use for Maelee. Whichever one you choose will be fine, they even have products designed to take all the work out of teeth brushing for you and a dog if you have a busy lifestyle and can’t find the time.
A dog toothbrush stick can take the work out of it for you and a dog. Your dog will be left to chew on it supervised. Simply fill it with toothpaste and give it to a dog for three to five minutes and a done. It is dishwasher safe or simply wash it by hand. This is good if you have a dog that either doesn’t like the brushing or if you don’t have time to brush.
You Have More Options
Bones and toys in combination with brushing can be a very good tool for preventing dental problems. They have dental supplements and water additives you can get if you choose to. It just depends on your dog, and how willing they are in brushing their teeth. If you have a dog that just won’t budge and you’ve tried and can’t, it might be a good idea to use all of the alternatives to brushing in combination. Additionally taking our dog’s for their regular check-ups with the vet will make all the difference when trying to maintain a healthy happy pet!
In the picture below you can see Maelee with her BulliBone. They are safer than raw hides and they even feature handles on the bottom designed for paw pads for easy holding. She likes BulliBones and they help keep her teeth clean, they make them in different sizes and different flavors. If you would like to try them I have included a link to the one she has from Amazon.
Happy Healthy Pets
Our dogs count on us for the best care and often won’t show signs of distress or pain. With February being National Pet Oral Health Month I found it the perfect time for a post on dental care, as it’s often forgotten. I just wanted to remind everyone how important it is, not just for us but for our furry best friends as well.
Let me know in the comments what you use to keep your dog’s teeth clean. Do they allow you to brush their teeth? Do you think oral care in dogs is important?