Why You Should Be Con­cerned About Your Dog’s Den­tal Health

The sin­gle most com­mon health prob­lem in dogs also hap­pens to be the most pre­ventable

Modern Dog - - CONTENTS -

De­spite the fact that pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease af­fects an in­cred­i­ble 80 per­cent of all dogs by three years of age, many of us ne­glect our dog’s den­tal health. But know this: the health of your dogs’ mouth di­rectly af­fects their qual­ity of life, be­hav­iour, and even the length of their life.

We brush our teeth twice a day be­cause plaque can form on a tooth’s sur­face in as lit­tle as two hours! The same goes for our pups’ mouths. If left undis­turbed, plaque grows thick with bac­te­ria and, as it ac­cu­mu­lates min­er­als from your dog’s saliva, forms tar­tar, which is much harder to re­move and must be done by a vet.

The next stage of den­tal dis­ease is in­flam­ma­tion of the gums, or gin­givi­tis, which can quickly progress to early pe­ri­odon­ti­tis if not treated. Pe­ri­odon­ti­tis is caused by the body’s in­flam­ma­tory re­sponse to oral bac­te­ria. The en­tire gum be­comes in­flamed and swollen, which leads to pain and no­tice­ably bad breath. The dis­ease pro­gresses to mod­er­ate pe­ri­odon­ti­tis where in­fec­tion and tar­tar are de­stroy­ing the gums, caus­ing them to bleed; eat­ing be­comes dif­fi­cult. At this stage, with the cor­rect treat­ment, the dis­ease still may be re­versible. In the fi­nal stage, ad­vanced pe­ri­odon­ti­tis, a chronic bac­te­rial in­fec­tion is de­stroy­ing the gum, teeth, and bone. Bac­te­ria can spread through the blood­stream through­out the body, dam­ag­ing the kid­neys, liver and heart. At this point, the dis­ease is ir­re­versible.

Though some of the fac­tors as­so­ci­ated with den­tal prob­lems are un­avoid­able, such as age and breed (flat faced and short nose breeds can suf­fer from over­crowded mouths), it’s up to you to do ev­ery­thing you can to pro­tect your dog’s teeth.

All it takes is a few min­utes of daily home den­tal care to help prevent the plaque and tar­tar build-up that cause pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease. To main­tain oral hy­giene, most dogs will re­quire some pro­fes­sional den­tal work but daily brush­ing min­i­mizes these ex­pen­sive vis­its and pro­tects your dog’s mouth be­tween clean­ings.

HOW TO BRUSH YOUR DOG’S TEETH

! Set the Rou­tine Choose the same time and day to brush their teeth. At the sched­uled time, go to the lo­ca­tion and call your pup. When she comes, use your fore­fin­ger and thumb to gen­tly lift her lip to re­veal her gums and re­ward her with a taste of pet tooth­paste. @ Taste the Paste Once your dog is okay with Step One, wrap your fin­ger with gauze (or use a fin­ger tooth­brush) and gen­tly rub the tooth­paste over the teeth and gums. # Trust the Brush Grad­u­ate to a pet tooth­brush. Put paste on the brush and let your dog lick it off. Re­peat daily un­til they don’t hes­i­tate at the sight of the brush. $ Tooth­brush Time Place a small amount of tooth­paste on the brush and start to brush the teeth and gums gen­tly, fin­ish­ing with the bot­tom front teeth. Fo­cus on the out­side of the teeth as this area is most prone to plaque and tar­tar.

Re­mem­ber, rou­tine is key! With plenty of pa­tience, con­sis­tency, and praise, your dog will soon come to ac­cept daily truth brush­ing as a part of their reg­u­lar daily rou­tine. A minute or two of daily brush­ing will have a huge, pos­i­tive im­pact on your dog’s over­all health and hap­pi­ness, and will likely save you money at the vet, too!

The early signs of den­tal dis­ease in­clude bad breath and a yel­low or brown crust on teeth. More ex­treme signs in­clude bleed­ing gums, tooth loss, change in chew­ing habits, and ex­ces­sive drool­ing.

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