By this point, you’re probably pretty familiar with the importance of good dental hygiene. You brush your teeth twice a day, visit the dentist twice a year, and make emergency trips if you’re feeling any discomfort. After all, poor oral health can increase your risk of infection, heart disease, gingivitis, tooth loss, and more.
Did you know that the same applies for your dog? Keeping their teeth in good health is important too! While brushing their teeth twice a day probably isn’t realistic, doing it once a day, or at least a few times a week is ideal. Their breath may not be minty fresh, but it shouldn’t be unbearable.
Here are a few ways to keep your pup’s dental hygiene in check:
Start early and often. Begin training your dog to let you put your fingers in their mouth from the time they are young. If you have an adult or older dog, this is something you can work on slowly to help them adjust. Don’t just go at it when you want to brush their teeth – make sure they feel safe and comfortable with this kind of interaction. Try working with your dog after they’ve had a busy day and are more relaxed and tired. It can be harder to brush their teeth when they’re full of energy and bouncing around.
Use the right supplies. Get your dog their own doggy toothbrush or fingertip brush as well as special toothpaste made just for pets. They often come in a variety of flavors, so if your dog loves peanut butter or chicken, you can find something that they may find appealing. Let your dog spend some time sniffing these products so they’re not as strange, and go slowly when starting to brush. You may not get all of their teeth the first few times, so remember where you left off. If your dog is not a fan of the brush, there are teeth wipes available too.
Get your dog involved. Your dog can help clean their own teeth too! Provide a variety of bones and chew toys that are designed for dental health. They often have bumps and nubs that help remove plaque, and your dog’s gnawing action is beneficial too. They may be made with special ingredients that help fight bacteria and freshen breath as well.
Be proactive. Your dog’s breath won’t smell amazing, but it should be tolerable. If you notice it smells particularly foul, there is yellow or brown tarter building along their gumline, their gums bleed, they’re drooling a lot, or they seem to have difficulty chewing or eating, it could be a red flag for dental health issues. Also, feeding them dry food as opposed to soft can reduce the amount of food that gets stuck in their teeth.
Seek professional help. If you notice any problems with your dog’s dental health, get them in to see the veterinarian. They should have their teeth examined at every visit and professionally cleaned at least once per year. The vet can provide a more thorough cleaning than you can at home and also identify any potential problems. The longer you let issues linger, the worse – and costlier – they can become.
Your dog relies on you to ensure it is in good health, and proper dental care should be on the list. If it isn’t something you’ve done before, now can be a good time to start in order to help your pet live a healthier life. Keep them looking their best as well with grooming from Lake Wylie Pet Resort! Contact us to learn more and also sign up for doggie daycare or boarding.