How To Protect Your Dog’s Dental Health
If you are a Dog Mom like me, you are always worrying about how to keep your baby safe and healthy, and bring out the best.
We’ve all heard the myth that “A Dog’s Mouth Is Cleaner Than A Human’s Mouth”.
Not necessarily true. Dogs do have enzymes that kill bacteria in their mouths. However, think of all the things they lick and eat, especially out on a walk. The mouth can be a breeding ground for germs that may lead to all sort of health issues if not properly cared for. Plaque and gingivitis can develop in your dog’s mouth that can lead to discomfort and even life-threatening infections. Although dogs may not be as naturally prone to teeth issues as humans, they still require regular dental health check-ups and maintenance. Protect your dog’s heart, kidneys and liver with good dental health practices.
We sat down with Dr Jonathan Mittelman of Vets Toronto to get his pro tips for improving and maintaining your dog’s oral health. Here’s what signs to look for and avoid in order to keep your dog happy and smiling.
Does Your Dog Have Bad Breath or Other Signs?
Bad breath, halitosis or “Dog Breath” is caused by bacteria in your dog’s mouth and is not normal. When plaque, tartar, and bacteria build-up in your dog’s mouth, it can lead to periodontal disease and odor. Plaque is soft and can be brushed away. However, if you leave it untouched, layers of plaque can accumulate. Tartar can form a hard deposit on teeth that further traps bacteria in and under the gumline. Poor gum health such as bleeding gums and loose or exposed teeth can lead to infections getting directly into the bloodstream .
Complete oral care is important for your dog’s overall health and can add years to their lifespan.
What Are You Doing To Help Your Dog’s Dental Health?
- Brush your dog’s teeth 1-2 times a day just like your own to remove plaque and bacteria (I try but I confess I fail here).
- Use a canine toothbrush or wrap for your finger and doggy toothpaste (Yes- I ran out and bought these as soon as we started fostering Kilo)
- Do Not Use Human Toothpaste.
Read more tips for How To Clean Dog Teeth At Home from Pet My Pet.
Other Products that Can Help Your Dog’s Dental Health
Kilo is not a fan of having his teeth brushed. Any dog owners who have tried brushing their dog’s teeth know it can be a challenge! The good news is that things Kilo loves can help.
- Chew Toys
- Hard Kibble
- Specialty Treats
- Bully Sticks like our Favourite Bullwrinkles
These benefit your dog’s oral health by massaging the gums and removing loose tartar from teeth. Working away on a Bully Stick or hard treat or toy also helps relieve boredom and satisfies a dog’s desire to chew. It really relaxes Kilo and his teeth look pretty good- a win-win.
Last week I also heard about the benefits of a raw food diet for canine teeth. We will be exploring that further.
Greenies provide teeth cleaning and total oral care for pets. They were the first treat to receive the VETERINARY ORAL HEALTH COUNCIL Seal of Acceptance for control of plaque and tartar buildup. Kilo loves the taste, smell and texture of Greenies and they are a good size for him. He took the chew right away and didn’t let go! Of course, you need to supervise your dog with any chew. I like the resealable package I got too. I just found them a little high in calories to have too often and was not sure about the colour.
Kilo also loves Bullwrinkles which offer hours of chew time and strong anecdotal evidence of dental benefits- I understand they are looking at applying for the seal of approval. I love that they are all-natural, human grade, high in protein, low in fat, no additives with naturally occurring glucosamine and chondroitin which are also believed to have health benefits. As with any additional treats or chews, I just have to watch the calories with the greedy Pug.