Who would believe it that it’s just as important for your dog to have clean, healthy teeth as it is for you? Well it is. Just like humans, dogs experience plaque build-up on their teeth. Plaque will turn into tartar, which eventually leads to inflamed gums, causing gum disease. Gum disease can then turn into Canine Periodontitis, which is a bacterial infection of the mouth, which may involve bone and/or tooth loss. So here are some tips to keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy.
The signs to look out for:
- Discolouration of the teeth (Brown)
- Discolouration of the teeth (Yellow or Brown) along the gum line
- Red swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Difficulty eating
Brushing your dog’s teeth:
So just as we regularly brush our teeth and take care of them, it is ideal to brush your dog’s teeth too. Once brushing becomes a part of their daily routine, they will begin to expect it and enjoy it. Brushing three times a week is the minimum recommendation to help remove and improve plaque build-up, and to prevent tartar accumulation. Use toothpastes specifically designed for pets, we suggest Beaphar Liver Paste Toothpaste. We recommend you buy the Beaphar twin pack of finger toothbrushes, specially designed to be placed onto your finger for easy brushing.
It is advisable to start brushing your dog’s teeth when they’re young. You should brush at least once a day, but like we mentioned, three times a week should be the minimum, and will make a huge difference with your dog’s oral health. Start with lots of reassurance and make sure your dog is calm and relaxed, and in a spot where your he/she is comfortable. Let your dog have a little taste of the toothpaste from your fingertip and then gently lift the upper lip and brush in small circles, reassuring at all times. They will eventually get used to this new sensation. If after a few days they refuse to lick more toothpaste, and refuse brushing, try a different flavour.
Make sure to massage the gum line and clear away plaque. Whilst brushing in a circular motion, ensure to brush the top and bottom on each side. Be patient, keep the mood light whilst talking to them and telling them what a good boy/girl they are. Your dog might not like it at all, but you will get there in the end!
You might notice some light bleeding, which is perfectly normal, but if the bleeding is ongoing and heavy, you may be brushing too heavily, or your dog could be suffering from gum disease. Speak to your vet for advice.
When all else fails:
If there is absolutely no way your dog wants their teeth brushed, there are alternatives in the form of dog treats and dog toys.
- Buy good, strong and durable dog toys to chew on. A few examples are the Kong Dental & Busy Buddy Toys
- Consider a water additive for oral care.
- Use Dental Treats like Nodens Dental Stix
- Yakers Himalayan Yak Milk Chews are a great healthy chew tour dog will love!
- Apple slices, carrot sticks, uncooked pumpkin, sweet potato & squash are all healthy, low in fat, dog-friendly human foods that help to scrape off the build-up of plaque on your dog’s teeth.