There’s a lot to consider when making sure your dog is in good health. Are they eating the right food? Are they exercising enough? Are they being stimulated and learning? One thing most pet owners overlook is their dog’s dental hygiene. It’s very easy to do- I know. If I’m being totally honest before writing this blog I was not taking care of my dogs’ teeth like I should have been (yikes), but hooray for learning new things! Dental hygiene for pets isn’t just about making their teeth pearly white or fighting off bad breath (although it does both of things); it’s connected to their overall well-being. February also happens to be National Pet Dental Health Month, how exciting! It’s time to take your dog’s teeth seriously; according to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will develop some form of oral disease by the age of three (via 1800PetMeds.com).
Dog’s teeth are a lot like humans and can build up plaque and collect bacteria and it can get real gross in there! Imagine if you went for most of your life without brushing your teeth (*nasty face emoji*). Overtime this build up can cause inflammation and make their gums bleed, which can cause discomfort for your pet and lead to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is what you have to be concerned about. If it is not treated early enough it will become irreversible and very damaging. According to Laura Dennis for Modern Dog Magazine, “In the final stage, advanced periodontitis, a chronic bacterial infection is destroying the gum, teeth, and bone. Bacteria can spread through the bloodstream throughout the body, damaging the kidneys, liver and heart.” Poor dental hygiene doesn’t just stay in the mouth; it can effect your pet’s overall health. Brushing your dog’s teeth doesn’t sound so bad now does it?
There are lots of products that claim to keep your dog’s teeth healthy but nothing compares to actually brushing their teeth. While tossing them a dental treat or giving them dry kibble may help to get rid of a little bit of stuff stuck on the surface, it doesn’t do as much as people believe. Longer lasting chews for dogs can offer a better cleaning effect but look for treats with Veterinary Oral Health Council’s seal of approval.
The best way to keep your dog’s mouth healthy is by brushing their teeth (no surprises there). Don’t worry there are some steps to build up to brushing their teeth. First make it part of the schedule. It’s ideal to brush everyday but once a week is better than nothing! Pick a good day and time and start by letting your dog taste the doggie toothpaste from your finger. Eventually work up to rubbing the toothpaste on the teeth and gums. Let them get comfortable with the toothbrush by licking toothpaste off of it. After sometime let the brushing begin! Be patient with the process and most importantly be consistent. Brushing your dogs teeth will improve their quality of life and possibly length of life. So go for it! Don’t forget to let us know how it goes. If you’re a pet teeth-brushing expert we’d love to hear your tips!