Should we clean our dog’s teeth?

Cleaning Dogs Teeth

Dog With Toothbrush

Dogs are not as prone to cavities as us human beings, but they can still develop tatar, plaque and gingivitis. These dental problems can lead to life-threatening infections such as heart, liver and kidney disease as with humans if not kept in check. At Susie’s Pet Care, we believe regular teeth brushing is very important.

How to brush dog’s teeth.

Unfortunately dogs cannot brush their own teeth! There are special bushes that can be bought for dogs that are double sided with the rushes at 45 degree angle. If this is introduced when they are a puppy, they get used to it and are more accepting. But if not, try and choose a time when they are calm – maybe after exercise and keep it short for the first few times. Stop if they get a bit stressed. The sessions can be increased over time. Reward when completed even if this negates the process in the early days. But leading up to daily cleaning would be good practice.

Toothpaste

Do NOT use human toothpaste as it contains fluoride mostly and this is poisonous to dogs. You can buy dog toothpaste in most pet stores.

Which foods?

Crunchy kibble is better than soft foods, as like sweets for humans, soft foods can stick to the dogs teeth and cause decay. Chewing bones and chew toys are good for strengthening your dog’s teeth and gums. But this does not ensure good dental health.

Visiting the vet, how often?

You should check inside your dogs mouth weekly ideally, and if you see any problems, take them to the vet. Particularly if you see any of the signs below:

  • Change in eating habits or chewing
  • Bad breath
  • Pawing at the face or mouth
  • Broken, missing, discoloured teeth
  • Depression
  • Red swollen bleeding gums
  • Tartar along the gum line (yellowish brown)
  • Growths or lumps in the mouth

But a 6 monthly or annual check up would be good practice included in the normal full health check up. This can save you money in the long run without the need for Anaesthesia – needed because some dogs become really stressed at the vets.