Plaque in dogs’ teeth

Myrtleford Times - - North East Regional Extra - Mea­gan Lee, vet­eri­nar­ian

AC­CORD­ING to pet food sup­plier Royal Canin, around 85 per cent of dogs over three years old have sig­nif­i­cant den­tal dis­ease.

If left unchecked, den­tal dis­ease can end up caus­ing sig­nif­i­cant health prob­lems for a dog.

Ideally, the best way to avoid prob­lems like th­ese is to in­vest in a small amount of pre­ven­ta­tive care to re­duce tar­tar build-up and stop bac­te­rial in­fec­tions of the gums.

There are many op­tions avail­able to own­ers to proac­tively im­prove the oral health of their dogs. There are also sev­eral ways that dog own­ers can help pre­vent the build-up of plaque in the first place.

Dogs de­velop plaque on their teeth when saliva, food par­ti­cles and bac­te­ria come to­gether.

If left un­treated, this plaque com­bines with min­er­als in the mouth to be­come hard tar­tar that will even­tu­ally cause de­cay, gum dis­ease and other on­go­ing oral health is­sues.

Tar­tar that has built up over time is hard and has to be re­moved by a vet with spe­cialised equip­ment.

To pre­vent your dog’s den­tal health get­ting to this point, there are tech­niques you can use to re­move any plaque that has started to form and stop any more de­vel­op­ing.

Giv­ing your dog’s teeth a reg­u­lar brush is a great way to pre­vent plaque build-up.

Make sure to use tooth­paste specif­i­cally de­signed for dogs and never use your own tooth­paste, as it con­tains in­gre­di­ents which can up­set your dog’s di­ges­tion.

If your dog isn’t al­ready used to the idea of get­ting their teeth brushed, it is un­likely they will ac­cept the ex­pe­ri­ence straight away, so you’ll need to ease into it over time.

Start by us­ing your fin­ger to rub the top and bot­tom of their teeth and gums.

Once they’re used to that, you can slowly be­gin to in­tro­duce a tooth­brush. How­ever, make sure you al­low your dog to adapt at their own pace.

Slowly build up the amount of time spent brush­ing, grad­u­ally in­tro­duce a tooth­brush into the rou­tine and only be­gin re­ally clean­ing your dog’s teeth and gums prop­erly once they are com­fort­able with the process.

Ideally, you should brush your dog’s teeth daily or weekly.

Also, be sure to brush over your dog’s gum line, as this is where plaque and tar­tar stick. An­other ex­cel­lent way to com­bat plaque is to give your dog den­tal treats that can help loosen plaque and re­move de­bris as they chew.

A change in diet to a for­mula specif­i­cally catered to dogs prone to den­tal health is­sues can also be a great way to clean your dog’s teeth – es­pe­cially when they are still get­ting used to daily teeth brush­ing.

Spe­cialised for­mu­las, in­clud­ing those pro­duced by Royal Canin, re­duce the build-up of plaque and tar­tar due to the kib­ble’s tex­ture hav­ing a brush­ing ef­fect on their teeth.

If you’re find­ing that you’re un­able to solve your dog’s prob­lem with plaque and tar­tar build-up, it’s a good idea to visit your vet for ad­vice and fur­ther treat­ment. Your vet can check your dog’s teeth and pro­vide an oral care and di­etary pro­gram.

If needed, vets also of­fer com­pre­hen­sive care for den­tal is­sues in­clud­ing teeth pol­ish­ing and ul­tra­sonic de-scal­ing.

They can also per­form more ad­vanced treat­ments in­clud­ing sur­gi­cal in­ter­ven­tion.

Check with your vet to find out the best ways to im­prove your dog’s in­di­vid­ual den­tal health and man­age­ment strate­gies.

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