Every Dog Develops Dental Disease by 3 Years of Age
Did you know that dental disease is the most common medical problem in dogs? By just three years of age, most dogs already have periodontal disease, including gum infection and gum/bone loss. But good news- dental disease is preventable. The time to start thinking about caring for your puppy’s teeth is now, as soon as you bring him home.
Clean Teeth= Longer, Healthier Life
Keeping your pet’s teeth clean is not just about a white smile and fresh breath; it’s really about setting your pet up for optimal health and a long life. Periodontal disease causes pain in the mouth. Unfortunately, your pet can’t tell you that they have a tooth ache. Gum infection can also damage the internal organs, including your pet’s heart, liver, eyes, lungs, and kidneys. The key to preventing periodontal disease is removing plaque before it has a chance to harden into dental calculcus (tartar). Plaque is composed of bacteria that stick to the surface of the teeth. It’s that slimy or fuzzy stuff on your teeth you notice when you wake up in the morning. To remove that plaque, we brush our teeth regularly. We also have our dental hygienist remove any plaque that has hardened into tartar when we have our dental check-up and cleaning. Our pets benefit from the same dental care- regular tooth brushing at home by you, and regular dental check-ups and cleaning by your veterinarian.
How To Brush A Dog’s Teeth
Brushing your pet’s teeth daily is the single most effective way to decrease plaque and tartar. You should start getting your pet used to the idea of teeth brushing at a young age. Begin the process by selecting a good-tasting paste (we sell it here at Brookfield) . Use a soft-bristled tooth brush and let your pet inspect the brush. When he is comfortable with the brush near his face, gently rub a few teeth and then give him a treat. Keep repeating this daily until he learns to accept and enjoy the brushing. Eventually you’ll be able to brush all around his mouth, including the hard-to-reach but very important back molars.
Dental Treats for Dogs
Brookfield Animal Hospital provides other products: dental chews and dental diets, that can help prevent plaque and tartar build-up. When choosing a dental product, only select the kind we offer at Brookfield; those that carry the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval. Remember to supervise your pet with any new treat. It is important to note that, while these treats can be good for the teeth, they still have calories- so don’t go overboard. Pet foods, such as Hill’s Healthy Advantage and Hill’s T/D, can also be very helpful at removing daily tartar and promoting good oral hygiene.
Does My Dog Really Need a ‘Dental’?
Remember that while dental care can greatly improve your pet’s oral hygiene, most pets will still need periodic professional cleanings, just like us. So the answer is yes, your dog will need a professional cleaning at some point in his or her life. Home care will reduce the frequency of cleanings needed as well as the amount of disease found at your pet’s dental check-up. Consequently the dental procedure will be cheaper, faster and safer. Remember that dental hygiene is very important and that with proper care of your dog’s teeth, he can live a longer, pain-free life.