Louise Vosloo of Pretoria writes I’ve noticed that my Corgi has bad breath now that she’s getting older; do I have to start brushing her teeth?
Ashleigh Sanderson, brand manager for
Pedigree, replies While your pooch’s breath may never smell like a bunch of roses, if it carries a pong that makes you want to pass out, something is amiss and your dog could actually have gum disease. Your canine can’t tell you if something is wrong, so it’s up to you as a pet owner to get to the bottom of what’s causing the odour.
Research shows that four out of five dogs over the age of three have gum disease, caused by plaque and tartar build-up around the gumline. The good news is that this statistic can be reduced with an effective dental care routine. When left untreated, it can lead to the deterioration of your dog’s health and quality of life.
Symptoms include red, inflamed or bleeding gums; a receding gumline and tooth root exposure; loose teeth; calculus (tartar) build-up; and, in severe cases, a change in feeding behaviour such as preferring softer foods or chewing more on one side of the mouth.
Tips for healthy teeth include: • Make sure your dog has an oral health examination at your vet at least once a year. • Train your dog, ideally as a puppy, to get him used to having his teeth brushed; use canine-specific toothpaste and a toothbrush. • Provide safe chews, toys and treats – many people don’t realise that bones, stones, sticks and tennis balls can damage a dog’s teeth and gums. • A chew such as Pedigree DentaStix has a unique X-shape and a mildly abrasive texture that helps to reduce the build-up of plaque at the gumline. It’s low in fat, free of artificial colours and sugar, and contains real meat flavour for added deliciousness.
Remember Your dog uses his teeth for much more than just eating; he uses them where we would use our hands to hold, carry and play. From licking to leaning in, dogs have a special way of showing affection and it’s important to monitor smelly breath and unhealthy teeth and gums so that you can enjoy your pet.