SMILE, February is Dental Health Month!
Dental health is extremely important for dogs, so below are a few vet-recommended tips for keeping your canine's canines pearly white.
Catching teeth problems early will help avoid severe dental disease. The simplest way to keep track of your dog’s teeth is to look at them on a regular basis and be aware of signs that may indicate a problem. Your veterinarian will also take a look at your dog’s teeth during routine examinations, so make sure you keep up with these; visit your vet every 6-12 months for wellness check-ups.
Some signs of dental issues include:
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Reluctance to chew / crying out when chewing
- Increased salivation
- Red and/or puffy gums
- Bleeding gums
- Tartar / Calculus (hard coating on teeth that is usually brown or yellow; results from plaque build-up)
- Missing and/or loose teeth
- Anything else about the mouth that appears unusual
There are several things you can do to help keep your dog’s teeth in good shape. Start a dental care routine as early as possible in your dog’s life so he get used to the feeling of having his teeth brushed and inspected. If you decide to brush your dog’s teeth, here are some important tips to keep in mind:
- NEVER brush your dog’s teeth with human toothpaste – it can make your dog sick! Use special enzymatic toothpaste made especially for dogs. The same goes for oral rinses.
- Plaque begins to turn into tartar / calculus within 24-48 hours, so daily brushing is recommended. Work your dog’s tooth brushing into your own routine – consider brushing his teeth around the same time you do yours so it will be easier to remember.
- Use a “finger brush” or special long toothbrush designed for use on dogs. When starting out with brushings, the finger brush can help ease your dog into it, as these do not feel as awkward as hard brushes.
- Before you begin, ask your veterinarian to show you some techniques to make tooth brushing easier on you and your dog.
If you are not able to brush your dog’s teeth, there are other options. Consider using oral rinses made especially for dogs. You can also purchase special dental treats. Avoid real bones – not only can they lead to gastrointestinal upset, they may also cause tooth fractures.
Here is a Flyerland coupon for some dental health-related products offered at your local Pet Valu, including $3 off Greenies, yummy dental chews for dogs big and small.
Have additional questions relating to the dental health of your pet? The Internet has a wealth of information, and never hesitate to contact your vet about any concerns you have.
* Note: I was recently informed by my vet that the green colouring in Greenies can cause skin issues for allergy-prone dogs, so check with your vet before switching your dog onto this product.Tweet