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Dog Dental Care Basics: How to Take Care of Your Dog’s Oral Health

The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that about 80 % of dogs show signs of periodontal disease by around age three. This can be prevented by early dental care. Here are the basics.

dog dental care

Why is dog dental care important?

Just like in humans, dog oral care is an important part of overall wellness. Dental disease, if left untreated, can be very painful, even though cats and dogs do hide their pain well, lead to a change in eating habits and behavior and seriously affect your dog’s quality of life. At later stages, it can severely damage your dog’s teeth, gums and jaw and can even cause liver, kidney and heart disease. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that about 80 % of dogs show signs of periodontal disease by around age three. This can be prevented by early dental care. 

You don’t have to take your pet to professional dental practitioners to ensure good dog dental health.  It’s easy to learn how to care for your dog’s teeth at home so you can keep bad breath at bay and maintain tooth and gum health in-between professional cleanings.

You also get to feel good knowing you’re going to give your dog a painless quality of life.  Taking a few minutes every week to attend to your pooch’s smile is a small price to pay for your pet’s ultimate well-being – so don’t neglect dog dental hygiene.

The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that about 80% of dogs show signs of periodontal disease by around age three.

Five tips for proper dog dental care

1. Maintain daily brushing routine

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Dog dental care doesn’t have to be expensive. The best dental care for dogs is done at home on a daily basis. All you need is a good brush in the correct size and with the right bristle firmness for the size and breed of your dog, a good quality (and tasty) toothpaste and some patience to learn the correct tooth brushing techniques.

You’ll be surprised at the excellent range of fun and innovative dog dental health care products, in different styles, sizes and flavors like peanut butter, chicken and beef. With time and patience, your dog will get used to having his teeth brushed and won’t be nervous or aggressive.  Depending on which breed you have you might find that brushes with angled handles, very soft and gentle bristles or multiple heads can make getting to the furthest corners of your dog’s mouth much easier. Fingertip brushes are also very useful. Experiment with different brushes and toothpaste to see which your dog prefers and which makes your life easier too! Don’t forget to give your dog a food treat after the session as this is likely to result in good behavior the next time you brush their teeth. 

2. Add dental food and food additives to your dog’s food bowl

Dog dental food comes in special kibble shapes and sizes that help scrub plaque from dogs’ teeth. Some brands also come with highly palatable ingredients that reduce stains and buildup of bacteria. Be sure to buy a brand that is approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s Seal of Acceptance as this guarantees that they are suited to promote tooth care for dogs. 

Prescribed dental food

If you’re finding it hard to provide regular dental care for your dog, you could opt for prescription dental food which you can buy at your veterinarian. These foods are clinically proven to help reduce tooth decay and support effective dog tooth care. The food also contains other ingredients that kill disease-causing bacteria, promoting good dental health for dogs and dental care for puppies.

Dental treats

Dog dental treats are a fun way to practice good dog oral care.  You usually only give these dog teeth care treats once or twice a day to help with dog dental care at home. They also create a protective layer on the teeth so treats work as support oral care for dogs. 

Flavored dental powders

A great addition to your adult dog’s oral health toolkit and perfect for puppy dental care. You can buy these at supermarkets and veterinary stores and simply sprinkle the powder on top of your dog’s food. Probiotics help to inhibit the growth of the bacteria that cause gum disease and prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar promoting good dog dental hygiene and puppy dental care. 

Dental water additives

These can be added to your dog’s water bowl to help with dog tooth care. They are tasteless and your dog won’t even know they are there. There are quite a few different options on the market that effectively promote good dog dental health.  Dental water additives are excellent for dog teeth care, keep your dog’s breath fresh and kill plaque-forming bacteria. Teeth care for dogs has never been easier than this and are great way to promote dental care for puppies.

3. Offer your dog  dental chews

Dog dental chews are designed to do double duty: They taste delicious to dogs, and they help to mechanically scrape the tooth surface, kind of like a dog toothbrush would. Dr. Gaddis says they especially help in the back of the dog’s mouth where they do all their chewing, but they’re not a replacement for toothbrushing.

4. Let your dog play with dental toys

dog-play-with-dental-toys

Dog dental toys make your pal happily distracted while they’re improving their dental hygiene. They work by physically removing some of the tooth surface plaque, particularly in the back of the dog’s mouth where they chew, but they’re not a substitute for getting in there with a dog toothbrush.

5. Take your dog for regular dental cleanings.

No matter how much at-home dental care you provide for your dog, tartar will still build up over time on your dog’s teeth, just like with our teeth. We may brush our teeth daily, but we still need a dentist to clean our teeth periodically. The same is true for dogs. When enough tartar and gingivitis are present in your dog’s mouth, your veterinarian will recommend a dental cleaning (called dental prophylaxis). Your dog will need to go under general anesthesia in order to allow a veterinarian to properly clean off all the tartar on their teeth as well as the layer of tartar under the gumline. Some dogs need dental cleanings yearly, and others every few years; it depends on the breed of the dog and the dental care that they receive at home.

dog-for-regular-dental-cleanings-
If you’re finding it hard to provide regular dental care for your dog, you could opt for prescription dental food which are clinically proven to help reduce tooth decay and support effective dog tooth care.

Are your dog’s teeth covered? 

Now that you know more about the importance of dental care for dogs, you’ll want to make sure it’s all covered. Extractions? Root canals? Crowns? Animalia pet insurance plan offers a comprehensive dental package: orthodontia, endodontia and exodontia. Get your pet insurance quote today.


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