Dog breath. It stinks.
Oral hygiene is a much overlooked factor in a dog’s overall health because we’re not raccoons and we’re unable to hold a toothbrush nor turn the faucet on. If your dog has halitosis, a number of causes may be responsible for this condition– mainly, plaque build up, cavities, or periodontal disease resulting from bacteria in the mouth. Just like humans, pain in the gums and teeth are very stressful. If left untreated, bacteria can enter into the bloodstream and affect the organs. Good dental health is vital for longevity and wellness for your dog.
Veterinarians report that a large majority of dogs over the age of 4 are suffering from some sort form of periodontal disease that can lead to tooth loss or infection. Fortunately, good dental health can be managed through regular dental care and professional cleanings. Here are some tips on how you can keep your dog’s pearly whites in great condition:
BRUSHING AND TOOTHPASTE
Regular teeth brushing is the most effective means to maintain oral health between professional dental exams. Bacterial film known as plaque is the cause of periodontal disease, and this film is easily eliminated by mechanical brushing of the teeth. Ideally, the dog’s teeth should be brushed daily or at least a few times per week. Introduce this process slowly, and make sure that it’s a pleasant experience for your dog. Use toothpastes that are formulated for dogs and soft bristled tooth brushes that are designed for dogs. There are a variety of products such as finger brushes and dental wipes to make the process enjoyable for both you and the dog. I love getting my tooth brushed, because chicken flavored enzyme toothpastes are delicious!
CHLORHEXIDINE ORAL RINSE AND GEL
Chlorhexidine is an effective anti-plaque antiseptic that can be easily applied in spray or gel, and it’s an excellent supplement to manual brushing. The spray or gel can easily be applied to your dog’s teeth on a daily basis to freshen our breath and to protect our gums from bacterial build up.
Chew toys keep us entertained, and it’s awesome for dental health! Chewing daily is ideal, so palatability matters. Provide us with a variety of chews such as deer antlers, bully sticks, tendons, unbleached single sheet rawhides, or himalayan chews (dried yak cheese) so that we don’t get bored. Keep us away from products that are too hard, such as dry bones, hard nylon bones or cow hooves. These hard products can damage our teeth or gums. Compressed and bleached rawhide are also known to cause digestive upsets. Stay away from products that are made in China as, many manufacturers uses toxic chemicals
A healthy gut promotes a healthy mouth. Probiotics have been clinically proven to slow the growth of bacteria that lead to common oral and dental diseases including periodontal disease and halitosis. Toss some probiotics in our meals as supplements for overall wellness.
FRESH FRUIT AND VEGGIES AS SNACKS
Fresh fruit and veggies are healthy snacks, and it also aids in the removal of plaque from our teeth. Frozen apples and carrots are greats snacks for teething puppies, and adult dogs love it too!
Dirty dog bowls are a petri dish of bacteria that can cause oral and digestive problems. Wash our bowls daily to keep us healthy!
Set an appointment for yearly dental checks. Early intervention can save your dog’s teeth as he ages and protect their overall health.