Dog Health Issues – Don’t Ignore Your Dog’s Dental Health

Dog Health Issues – Do you brush your dog’s teeth regularly?  Is your dog’s dental hygiene an important priority for you?

If not, then you are certainly not by yourself.  I have heard that a minimum of 70% of dog owners don’t pay any attention to the health of their dogs’ teeth and gums.  My guess is that the percentage is much higher than that.

Do you brush your own teeth at least once a day?  I’m sure you do, probably several times a day.

What happens if we don’t regularly brush our dog’s teeth?  First of all, plaque builds up.  If the plaque is not removed, it later turns into tarter.  This tarter eats into the dog’s teeth and gums.  The gum line can be completely destroyed.

Poor dental health can cause bad breath or halitosis in the dog.  This can lead to periodontal disease and pain for the dog to chew.  Bacteria in the dog’s mouth can cause problems in the dog’s heart and kidneys. 

This progression of disease should not be taken lightly. 

I recently read a good article entitled, “SHERRY DAVIS: Don’t neglect your dog’s dental health.”  Sherry Davis is the author.  She is an expert dog trainer.  She is also contributing columnist to The Bakersfield Californian.

She does an excellent job of expressing the negative consequences resulting from the poor dental health in our dogs.  She also lists ways to improve our dog’s hygiene on a regular basis. 

Regular brushing with a toothpaste specifically for dogs is probably the best way to keep our pet’s teeth and gums healthy.  But there are other ways to help our dogs’ dental hygiene.

Feed a healthy dog food.  Giving your dog dry food is preferred over wet food. 

Pork hide bones are much healthier than raw hide bones.  Pork hide bones are much easier to digest than raw hide bones.  They help remove plaque and tarter. 

There are other healthy dog treats that are specifically designed to improve our dog’s hygiene.  They include vitamins and minerals that promote healthy teeth and gums in our dogs.

Here is a quote from a portion of the article by Sherry Davis:

Helpful hints:

* I teach all my puppies to stand or lie on the grooming table to be brushed and have their mouth handled before I start tooth brushing. It limits their ability to move around and they are easier to work with at waist height.

If you don’t have a grooming table, a rubber mat placed on a washer, dryer or patio table makes a good substitute.

Never leave a puppy alone on a table or take your eye off it for a second. If he or she is extremely wiggly, enlist the help of another person to hold the puppy gently, but securely, while you brush its teeth.

* Soft or wet diets are the No. 1 cause of dental disease. Unless your dog is on a specific diet prescribed by your veterinarian, opt for dry, crunchy food and use only a small amount of wet, if any, to flavor it.

Toy dogs notoriously have the worst teeth since many owners assume that because of their small size they can only eat soft food. The truth is if toys are started on a formula of size and age-appropriate dry food as puppies, they are happy and more than able to chew hard food just like the big guys.

* Save the soft treats for a reward during training sessions, and offer a dental chew (under supervision) or hard biscuit to help remove plaque after eating.

* If your dog is going under anesthesia for any elective surgery, ask your veterinarian to do a dental cleaning at the same time if it is needed.

Doing routine teeth brushing and having regular check-ups by your vet will help to maintain healthy teeth and prevent serious problems that may develop from dental neglect.

The entire article can be read here.  It’s a very good article.  It points out that up to 80% of dogs, 3 years old and older, have some type of dental disease.  That’s a scary fact.  So scary that we should all do something about it.  It is one of the most important dog health issues today.

I encourage your comments.  Are you brushing your pets’ teeth?  Do you have any secrets that can make that job easier?  Making that job easier would encourage us to do it more often.  I wish all of you the very best.

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