Why Pet Insurance is Important - Mahlow the greyhound

Dog Dental Health

Good dental health is essential for your dog's overall health and well-being. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from gum disease, tooth decay, and other dental problems. If left untreated, these problems can lead to pain, infection, and even tooth loss.

Why does my pet need dental care?

Dogs need regular dental care to prevent gum disease. Your dog uses their teeth for many things. Eating is just one way they utilise their mouth. They will play, explore and taste their surroundings. If you do not properly care for your dog’s teeth, problems can start to build up. Cleaning your dog’s teeth regularly can help to reduce the amount of plaque. If you do not do this enough, the plaque can turn into tartar, which in turn can lead to inflammation and tenderness. This can develop into gingivitis and gum disease.

How to keep your dog’s teeth clean

  • Brushing your dog’s teeth daily is the best way to keep your dog’s dental hygiene in check.
  • Dental chews and the correct diet can have an effect in reducing plaque.
  • You should train your dog to accept having their teeth brushed as part of a daily routine.
  • If your dog’s teeth have a large amount of plaque on them, you should speak to your vet.

How to clean your dog’s teeth

The best time to start cleaning your dog’s teeth is when they are a puppy. If you start to brush their teeth everyday, they will get increasingly used to it as time goes by.

If you are doing this for the first time, start by gradually introducing your dog to it by holding your finger near their mouth. If you continue to do this, and then slowly introduce the act of brushing until it becomes natural.

Make sure you purchase a dog toothpaste, as human toothpastes are not suitable. For the actual toothbrush, you can use a special dog toothbrush which goes over your finger, or alternatively any toothbrush is fine.

Water additives such as Woof Fresh are a great way of reducing plaque and tartar build up in the first place, making brushing easier. In addition, they can eliminate bad dog breath. Simply pour one teaspoon of the solution directly into your dog's water bowl each day.

What to look out for in terms of dental disease

Dental disease can appear quite suddenly, or it can progress over a number of months. Things to look out for include:

  • Deposits building up on the teeth.
  • Gums being damaged and bleeding.
  • A bad smell from the mouth.
  • Roots of the teeth being exposed and sensitive.
  • Discolouring on the teeth.

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With any of these symptoms, always seek veterinary advice immediately. If your dog does have dental disease, they will most likely need to be sedated or placed under general anaesthetic to enable a proper examination of their mouth. If the affected teeth are in not too bad condition, the vet would scale and polish them to remove mineral deposits. In more severe cases, such as the teeth being fractured or loose, they may need to be removed.