Dog Dental Issues – Most of the readers of this blog know the importance good dental hygiene in our dogs and cats. So how do we improve dog dental health?
First of all, why is it so important to make sure that our dogs have good dental health? Dogs are not unlike us in maintaining the health of our teeth and gums. If we allow tartar to build up on our teeth, it turns into calculus.
Calculus can lead to bacteria, infection, and, eventually, periodontal disease. In this case, teeth can fall out.
This can result in major dog dental issues. The bacteria can spread through the blood stream to the dog’s organs and lead to the dog’s death.
There are steps we can take to keep our dog’s teeth and gums healthy. One way is to brush our dog’s teeth on a regular basis. But this is difficult to do.
Give healthy dog dental treats that are designed to help the teeth and gums. Dog chews and bones are helpful in removing tartar from the teeth. Dry dog food is much better than canned food in keeping a dog’s mouth healthy.
Periodic visits to your veterinarian are absolutely critical. If the vet observes buildup on the dog’s teeth, then a cleaning will be necessary. This will mean giving the dog an anesthetic.
I’m probably like you. I don’t want my dog to go through this procedure. It gives us an incentive to do the preventative measures listed above. But I am willing to do it if it protects the overall health of my dog.
I read an article entitled “How Can I Improve My Pet’s Dental Hygiene?” by Dr. Patrick Tate, chief of the veterinary staff and a general practitioner at Webster Groves Animal Hospital. Here is a quote from the article:
1. Schedule a dental examination and professional cleaning by a veterinarian (or skilled veterinary technician) once or twice a year. This is vital in preventing oral disease. Sometimes pet owners avoid dental procedures because they don’t want their pet to be anesthetized. However, it is impossible to do a definitive oral exam and thorough cleaning on a pet that is awake. Properly administered anesthesia is very safe, and the benefits far outweigh any possible risk. Pet Dental Health Month is usually a good time to schedule dental procedures as many animal hospitals offer discounted prices to promote dental hygiene awareness.
2. Feed your pet a specially formulated “dental” food. Certain foods are made to resist crumbling, which can create a scrubbing action that diminishes plaque build-up. The food may also have a special coating that inhibits bacteria growth. Use caution when purchasing a dental support food for your pet–there are many worthless brands. Make sure the special food has the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Care) Seal of Acceptance before giving it to your pet. I highly recommend Hill’s Prescription Diet TD (Tarter Diet) for both dogs and cats. For a complete list of VOHC-approved dental products, along with protocol requirements, visit the VOHC website.
3. Give your pet dental “chews” of the right size and texture. Some chews can be too soft and fail to reduce plaque; others are too hard and will break a pet’s teeth. As always, consult your veterinarian or check the VOHC website for “chews” that are proven best for your pet. I have seen quite a few broken canine teeth from raw meat bones, cow hooves, etc. Canine Greenies, Vetradent Bluechews, Purina Dental Chews and Friskies Cheweez are a few brands approved by the VOHC.
4. Use an oral care product like a dental rinse, spray, gel and/or water additive. These products contain ingredients that destroy the bacteria resulting from plaque; some products also soften the plaque and tarter for easier cleaning. The VHOC recommends the natural oral care products from HealthyMouth.
Do you consider dog dental issues important? It is very easy to take them for granted. Have you considered how to improve dog dental health? Thanks for your comments.