Professional dog groomers care for dogs on a regular basis and find that tooth brushing is one of those aspects of pet ownership that is too commonly overlooked. It’s not discussed very often during most puppy training classes, and is easy to forget about when there are so many other things to be aware of in raising a healthy dog: house training, crate training, brushing, bathing, exercising, grooming, feeding a proper diet, socialization, etc.
Oral disease is one of the most widespread health problems affecting pets today: a startling 80% of dogs and 70% of cats are developing gingivitis or periodontal disease by age three, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society.
The good news is that oral disease is an easy thing to avoid. A simple program of regular teeth brushing and check-ups can go a long way to prevent serious problems down the road. Watch for obvious signs like “dog breath” and discolored teeth and take action early.
Where Periodontal Disease in Dogs Comes From
Dogs are especially prone to developing deposits which carry bacteria. As time passes, plaque forms between the tooth and gum and eventually hardens into tartar. Small dogs tend to develop tartar faster than big dogs since their teeth are closer together and more likely to trap food particles and bacteria between them.
As in humans, tartar that is not removed can cause infection along the gum line, causing the gums to separate from the teeth. This allows even more bacteria to accumulate, and, left untreated, will lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Be sure your pet receives an oral exam during his regular veterinary health check-up.
It’s important to brush your pet’s teeth often so plaque doesn’t form. Simply introduce the process gradually, and select a poultry flavored toothpaste and he’ll soon become accustomed to the routine. An enzymatic toothpaste will help break down plaque even after you’re done brushing. Keep brushing sessions brief and make it a positive and rewarding experience. Also feel free to discuss teeth brushing with your groomer. We’d be happy to help you keep a steady routine.
Add Healthy Food and Treats
Some pet foods are now formulated to combat plaque and tartar build-up and have been proven to be a highly effective oral health tool. There are also tartar control biscuits, bones, and treats that, with regular use, can help reduce tartar buildup above the gumline.
Visit the Dentist
Bad breath and yellow brown teeth are warning signs that your pet needs to be examined by your veterinarian. If your pet’s dental condition has deteriorated, there may be no option but to have teeth and gums professionally cleaned. It’s best to get a professional opinion before the problem gets out of hand.
Taking a little extra time on a regular basis to care for your dog’s teeth will assure good dental health and prevent serious dental and medical problems.