It’s Pet Dental Health Month; do you show your dog regular dental love?
Halitosis (bad breath) – whether it’s human or canine – is often the brunt of some really bad jokes and equally rude gestures! But just like humans with bad breath, your dog’s nasty breath could actually be a symptom of something much more serious going on with their health.
An oral bacterial infection (associated with bad breath) can eventually spread to other parts of the body (through the bloodstream) and cause serious – even potentially irreversible – damage to major organs including the kidneys, liver and heart. Left unchecked, this damage could lead to premature death of your dog.
Tooth Decay & Gum Disease Starts Early
The research is shocking; approximately 80% of all dogs begin to show tooth decay and gum disease/inflammation (gingivitis) by the tender age of 3! The steps below will help prevent K9 dental issues.
Preventative Dental Care
Annual Check-ups and Cleanings: Get your dog’s teeth (and gums) checked – and cleaned (a treatment called prophylaxis) – at least once a year by your regular vet. Annual check-ups can also catch the early signs of dental problems which could cause – or be caused by – other serious health issues.
Recommended Dental Products: Your vet can recommend the best dental products, treats or diets for your dog and their history. Raw bones (size-appropriate) are a great option for your dog (NO cooked or rawhide bones). Raw bones are also rich in calcium (promoting strong teeth), probiotic bacteria (the “good” bacteria) and enzymes. Probiotic bacteria/enzymes work to maintain healthy bacterial flora keeping harmful bacteria (which cause gingivitis) under control. (ALWAYS supervise your dog when they are chewing bones.)
Regular K9 Dental Care Starts at Home
Periodontal disease begins when bacteria combines with food particles and forms plaque on the teeth. Left untreated, plaque hardens into tartar (that yucky hard brown stuff you can’t wipe or brush off). Daily cleaning helps remove these food particles; but even cleaning several times a week can help maintain good dental hygiene and reduce potential issues.
Use a child’s toothbrush, finger brush, single-use pet dental wipe or a natural dental spray (like the one made by Bark5.com). Do use human toothpaste; only use pet-specific/formulated products that do not contain alcohol or the artificial sweetener, xylitol (both are very toxic to dogs).
(Sources: AVMA.org, AAHA.org and CVMA.net)