Though we specialize in human teeth, and advocate mostly for our hominid friends oral health, what about our fluffy friends? Many of our staff and clients have best buds with four legs, and their mouth health – similar to ours – affects how they feel. To keep your pup active, healthy, and happy, here are some tips and tricks for keeping their mouth health best-in-show.
Similarly to humans, you should brush your dogs teeth to help avoid periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a build up of plaque. The mineralization of that plaque is called tartar, which can be difficult to remove. While nothing in life is required, it is highly recommended to brush your dogs teeth at least once a month.
Rule number one, never use human toothpaste for your pet, even in a pinch. Toothpaste for humans is made for humans, meaning it has abrasives, foaming detergents and fluoride, which can wreak havoc on a dog’s stomach.
Thankfully, many brands make toothpaste designed just for dogs! Many have flavors like peanut butter, fish, or poultry to aid in acceptance. There is also a variety of brush types that can make it easier to clean the teeth of a squirming pet. Brushing is the number one defense from plaque and tartar, though there are many other options.
Chlorhexidine rinses are another option and are best for killing plaque. Chlorhexidine spreads in the dogs mouth and coats its surfaces. Gel options are often spread across the surface of a dog’s teeth. When choosing this option, be sure to check with your vet, or research quality products.
There are several products, foods, and treats that can aid in a dog’s oral health. From design, to chemical ingredients, each product has a different way to prevent tartar build-up. Chewing in general is good for a dog, it decreases boredom, and encourages healthy teeth. Treats like rawhides also trigger natural instincts in dogs which can be fun for them. The American Veterinary Dental College recommends staying away from hard natural and nylon bones because they lead to broken teeth and damaged gums.
Similar to treats, chewing toys also promotes healthy teeth and gums. Many brands make rubber toys marketed as a “tooth brush toy” which can be beneficial if played with frequently and over a longer period of time. Assure you are monitoring your pet when they are chewing toys to avoid swallowing.
As you can see, harmful and healthy dog dental habits are similar to those of humans. If you are concerned about your pet’s mouth health, contact a vet. If you are concerned about your mouth health, contact us.