Looking After Your Dog’s Teeth
Keeping our dogs’ teeth healthy is a vital part of your dog’s general health. The simple fact is that daily brushing of your dog’s teeth remains the single most effective way of helping your dog maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Periodontal disease is the collective term for several plaque-associated inflammatory conditions that affect our dogs’ teeth. It is the most common oral condition seen in small animals and is also the most common disease seen by veterinarians in small animal practices.
Dental diseases often cause discomfort and significant pain, and if left untreated, it may cause issues with other organs. Accordingly, it’s a good idea to protect your pet from this disease. Research has shown that periodontal disease is most prevalent in middle-aged dogs and especially in small breeds. This correlation could be explained by small breed dogs longer life expectancy compared to large breed dogs. However, all dogs are likely to develop periodontal diseases if steps are not taken to help maintain healthy teeth and gums.
While cleaning our pets’ teeth is the best way to help dental health, other products on the market may also help. Here are our favourite pieces of advice:
- Always use a canine toothpaste to clean your dog’s teeth, human toothpaste contains xylitol which can be fatal if ingested by dogs.
- Natural chews and raw bones will help clean teeth and reduce the bacteria that leads to plaque and periodontal disease. We find these to be more effective than dental sticks.
- Studies suggest that the reduction in bacteria due to natural chews and raw bones could be a result of the antibacterial nature of dogs’ saliva. Giving chews and bones to our dogs routinely can be beneficial, particularly when used alongside regular brushing.
- Natural chews and raw bones have the advantage of not containing meat and animal derivatives, which are present in many dental sticks. This can be particularly important if your dog has allergies to certain meat proteins or grains.
- If you cannot clean your dog’s teeth, there are products available that can help. Plaque Off, for example, is a popular choice and is a powder that is added to your pet’s food. Other alternatives include PetLife Super Shaker Teeth & Gums and dental treats such as Scrumbles Gnashers.
- It will always be easier if you start cleaning your dog’s teeth when they are a puppy. Whatever age your dog is, you should ensure you are gentle when brushing your dog’s teeth to avoid any negative association.
Finally, it should be noted that while all dogs suffer from “doggie breath” occasionally, if your dog’s breath has a consistently foul odour, you should consider consulting your vet. This could be an indication that something is not right with your dog’s dental health, or even with another organ such as the liver or kidneys.