Like in humans, lack of dental hygiene will lead to gum disease and bad breath, unpleasant to say the least when your dog wants to lick you (AKA the kiss of death!). However, these are not the only issues how poor dental hygiene can affect your dog.
Dental disease is one of the most common diseases in dogs and affects up to 80% of dogs over three years of age. One of the most visible effects of poor dental hygiene is the formation of plaque, the sum-up of the build-up of food, bacteria and saliva. With time, this mixture solidifies turning into calculus (tartar), the brownie hard material that covers your dog’s teeth. These nasty bacteria don’t just remain in your dog’s teeth but can also travel via her/his bloodstream, usually ending up in your dog’s heart and potentially causing a serious infection call endocarditis that can be fatal for your dog.
To prevent the development of calculus and plaque in the first place, you need to actively clean our dog’s teeth. The most effective method is by using toothpaste and a toothbrush (finger toothbrush or traditional shape) especially suitable for dogs.
Although at first, it might seem mission impossible don’t give up! If possible, start brushing your teeth when your dog is still young. Besides from for maintain good oral health, in this way, your dog will believe that it is a play and build the habit throughout their lifetime.
You can introduce the concept of the doggy toothbrush to your dog by putting his or her favourite treat paste on it, and allow him or her to become customised to it. Once they are happy and confident with the presence of a toothbrush, you can start pressing the toothbrush gently onto their teeth and, with time, swap the paste treat for the toothpaste and voila’, you are there! Additionally, there are other methods available to help to keep your dog’s teeth clean such as a dental spray and doggy mouthwash. Please choose the method you find easier to use with your dog and let’s keep those pearlies clean at least once a week!
Food is also key when it comes to keeping your dog’s mouth healthy too. As you know, nutrition is the staple of health, and a good quality diet will help to keep your dog mouth healthy over their lifetime. Dry diets can be beneficial in helping to keep your dog’s teeth. By the mechanical action of chewing their biscuits, dry food can help to prevent the formation of tartar and bacterial plaque and contribute positively to your dog’s oral health.
There are certain treats, called dental chews, that can also prove beneficial in keeping your dogs’ teeth clean. As with the dried food, the mechanical action of chewing will help to break down their tartar formation. However, do make sure these chews are chewed! If your dog does just swallow them, please use the brushing method, it never fails!
Finally, certain toys made of natural rubber or nylon and designed to keep your dog’s teeth clean can also help this the overall task. In addition to clean the teeth, these products massage the gums and can strengthen the gum line.
As you can see, there are loads of methods to help you keeping your dog’s teeth clean. Start slow and build it up over time, the key is perseverance. Make it a routine and have fun with your dog!