As an animal lover, it is quite natural for you to put in a lot of effort and time trying to ensure that your dog keeps healthy by giving it good food, adequate exercise, appropriate medical treatment, and everything else that you can think of. However, often your dog’s dental health is overlooked and you may not even realize that your pet is suffering from pain and stress from problems in the teeth or the gums. If the problem is not attended to in time, the infection might even enter the circulatory system, and affect other organs like the kidneys, liver, heart, etc.
According to studies conducted by vets, a massive 85% of dogs aged four years or more suffer from some type of periodontal disease, a painful condition that can lead to infection and loss of teeth. However, dog owners will be relieved to know that dental diseases can be prevented by having your dog checked periodically and with regular cleaning of the teeth. With a little practice, dogs will come to treat dental care with equal nonchalance as their daily grooming. However, you need to appreciate that this will not happen overnight and that the best time to get your per habituated is to start when it is still a puppy. However, if you have just woken up to years of neglect don’t be worried – all you need to do is take a patient and slow approach with lots of love and tasty treats to win him over.
Basic Dental Care for Dogs
While everyone agrees that brushing the teeth daily is the best, it may be unrealistic to expect success for more than three days a week. If your dog is low on patience and lets you brush only half the teeth one day let it be and simply remember to tackle the other half the next time. You can also help your pet to keep its teeth clean without your intervention by giving him a bone to chew so that it scrapes away the dirt and plaque. Make sure that you give him a soft bone like a knucklebone as that will be gentle on the teeth and avoid hard bones like hooves as that can damage the teeth. You can also buy artificial bones or toys that are chewable for the same effect. Make sure it has a rough finish for best results and large enough not to be a choking hazard. It is a good idea to look out for products that have the “VOHC-approved” stamp as they comply with the protocols developed by the Veterinary Oral Health Council for cleaning teeth.
Canine Dental Healthcare Products
While a normal toothbrush meant for human use can do the job effectively enough, you can always choose to use a canine toothbrush, which angled more to do a better job of cleaning. You can also pick a version that you can fit over your finger if you think that will be easier to manage. Choose one with soft bristles and is of an appropriate size.
Since dogs cannot be trained to spit out the toothpaste you will need to use a version that has ingredients that are safe to swallow. Buy the toothpaste specially formulated for dogs as it does not contain detergent or abrasives that are unsuitable for ingestion. Sometimes, when it is not possible to engage in a proper cleaning routine with a toothbrush, you can use wipes to keep your dog’s teeth and gums clean of accumulated food debris and bacteria. While canine dental pads are available, you can very simply do the same job with a piece of gauze wrapped around a finger.
The secret to a good dental care of your dog is loads of patience. You need to give enough time, so that your dog gets accustomed to not only a strange procedure, but also dental supplies that are alien. Get him accustomed to your handling his muzzle, opening his mouth and accessing his teeth, and once your pet is confident that nothing unpleasant is going to happen, it will cooperate with you.
Susan Griffith is the head of sales of a leading chain of pet supplies store. An animal conservation activist, Susan writes frequently on various animal and pet issues. She has been associated for long as a consultant with PrimpPlay, a leading pet care services provider.