Dental health and oral hygiene is essential to your dog's overall well-being, but this aspect of healthcare is often overlooked by pet owners. In this post, our Everett vets discuss pet dental care and how you can foster better dental health for your pup in the long-term.
Veterinary Dental Care
Many dogs in Everett don't receive the dental care they need to protect their oral and overall health. Here, our team will share the basics of veterinary dentistry and offer some useful tips for helping your pet reach and maintain ideal dental health.
1. Schedule Regular Dental Checkups
Taking your dog in for their annual health dental check is critical to their general health and longevity (and to avoiding expensive veterinary bills in the future to treat advanced oral health issues). These appointments are like taking your dog to the dentist and offer your vet a great chance for your vet to evaluate your pet's dental health. These checkups should become normal early in your dog's life to help them avoid dental health issues and conditions.
2. Don't Forget Veterinary Dental Cleanings
As part of your dog's dental checkups, your vet will likely perform scaling (removal of buildup and tartar from a tooth's surface and beneath the gum line), and polishing under anesthesia. This cleaning not only helps your dog's teeth appear cleaner, but gives our veterinary team an opportunity to closely observe any developing or ongoing dental issues.
3. Keep a Daily Brushing & Oral Hygiene Routine
If your dog will tolerate a daily teeth cleaning, brushing their teeth every day and maintaining an at-home dental routine is one of the best things you can do for their oral and overall health. To slow or keep plaque and tartar buildup at bay, aim for 5 times a week. This can help prevent dental disease.
4. Have Dental Problems Treated Promptly
Does your dog have bad breath (halitosis), gingivitis, advanced gum disease or other oral health conditions? Your vet may recommend appropriate dental treatments to preserve your dog's oral health. Rotting, troublesome or damaged teeth will sometimes need to be removed during a tooth extraction procedure.
5. Pay Attention to Your Dog's Gums
Similar to humans, a gentle gum massage might be just the thing your dog's mouth needs during your daily teeth cleaning sessions. It can also benefit their oral health. Symptoms of tooth decay usually start with red or inflamed gums, so this is a good opportunity to monitor your pooch's gum health.
6. Give Your Dog Fresh, Clean Water
Another way to help your dog maintain their oral and general health is to make sure they have uninterrupted access to fresh, clean water every day. Clean drinking water will help to wash food debris and bacteria from their teeth after they eat. This will reduce their risk of developing gingivitis and experiencing tooth pain.
7. Put Your Dog on a Dental Diet
You might look to your vet for recommendations on dental diet foods to help preserve your canine companion's dental health. Many high-quality dry foods for dogs are specially made to control plaque buildup on their teeth and inside their mouths. This food is usually comprised of larger pieces of kibble fibers that are aligned like toothbrush bristles. They're designed to clean your pet's teeth while they eat. These specially formulated foods can also potentially slow progression of dental disease.
8. Purchase Dental Chew Toys
Your dog's oral and overall health can greatly benefit from chewing time while they play. Most pet supply stores sell a wide selection of toys made especially for your dog to play with and chew on. Some toys can clean the teeth by discouraging buildup of tartar and removing plaque.
9. Offer Dental Treats & Chews
Your vet will also be helpful in this aspect since there is a wide selection of dog dental treats and chews on the market that claim to reduce plaque. However, they don't prevent it. Trained veterinarians can offer advice about which products might help your dog.
10. Remember That Stinky Breath Isn't Normal
While dogs aren't usually known for their minty fresh breath even when their oral health is at its best, it's critical not to ignore any issues such as notably bad breath when your four-legged friend yawns or barks in your face, or gives kisses. Beyond smelling unpleasant, this may point to underlying oral health issues.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.