Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth can actually go a long way to keeping their mouth healthy. Along with providing a balanced and healthy diet, this is one of the best ways you can care for your dog and show them your love and devotion.
A lot of dogs display signs of gum disease by the age of four because their mouth care has been neglected. Bad breath is usually the first sign. So start today by giving your dog regular oral checkups, and follow these ten easy tips, to have a happy and smiling dog in no time at all.
Give your dog’s mouth a sniff. Does it smell a bit doggy? That’s fine. But if it’s particularly offensive, and also accompanied by a sudden loss of appetite, some vomiting, and perhaps excessive drinking and excessive urination, your dog probably has a problem. Take them to the vet.
On a weekly basis, when your dog is front on to you, lift their lips to examine the teeth and gums. The gums are ideally a shade of pink - not white, not red. They shouldn’t show any signs of swelling at all. Teeth should be reasonably clean and should definitely not display brown tartar - much like human teeth, really.
3. Oral Disease
These are a few of the mouth issues your dog may display if they have oral or gastrointestinal problems. If you notice any of these symptoms then you should contact your vet immediately:
- Inflamed / swollen gums
- Loose or missing teeth
- Cysts, possibly under the tongue
- Tumors in and around the gum area
- Drooling excessively
- Bad breath
4. Tooth Decay
Much like our human teeth, bacteria and plaque can build up on dog’s teeth, eventually hardening into hard to remove tartar. This can lead to complications like gingivitis (gum disease), receding gums, and even loss of teeth. The easiest solution, much like it is for us, is to brush their teeth regularly.
5. A Dog Toothbrush
A canine toothbrush, made especially for your dog’s teeth, is the ideal answer. You can also use a piece of clean and soft gauze, wrapped around your finger, if you’re particularly trusting. Vets can supply special canine toothpaste, or even make some up from scratch from a combination of baking soda and water. By all means though do NOT use human toothpaste. It irritates your dog’s stomach and can cause complications there.
You can even get special dog mouthwash from your vet too, for especially minty breath.
6. Tooth Brightening
The following tips can make brushing teeth a whole lot easier and more productive:
- Make sure you get your dog used to the having his or her teeth brushed. Introduce your proximity to their sensitive and delicate mouth by massaging their lips with your finger for up to a minute, once or twice a day, for a couple of weeks. Eventually move closer, onto the teeth and gums.
- Once they’re comfortable with this, add some special dog toothpaste - or a simple mix of water and baking soda - rubbing it on their lips so they get used to its taste.
- The next step is to add the toothbrush into the equation. This should be smaller than a human one, and have much softer bristles.
- There are also dog toothbrushes you an wear on your finger, or you can just use a clean piece of gauze if you prefer.
- Apply the toothpaste and brush gently, as you would in a human mouth.
- If you have an concerns, contact a vet to ask about inflammation or other oral canine conditions. They can get gingivitis just like we can, and brushing swollen gums can cause them pain.
7. The Brushing Technique for Dogs
Believe it or not, there is a prescribed technique you should use for brushing your dog’s teeth. Use your brush or finger gauze at a 45 degree angle and clean using a small, circular motion. Cover one area of the dog’s mouth at a time. Life lips if necessary to get to the gums.
The hidden side of your dog’s teeth that rests on their gums usually has the most tartar, so pay particular attention here. A final downstroke can help get rid of this. If your dog doesn’t like the inners being cleaned, don’t fight with it. Ensure it remains a pleasurable experience, and after all, a very small amount of tartar isn’t the end of the world, as it won’t be a huge amount accumulated in there.
Once you’ve perfected this, brush your dog’s teeth up to three times per week.
8. Canine Mouth Disorders
Make sure you’re familiar with all the various mouth conditions your dog could exhibit. This will go a long way to helping you know what’s normal, and when you should see a vet.
For example, periodontal disease is a painful infection that occurs in between a dog’s teeth and gums. It can result in the loss of a tooth. It can also spread infection to the rest of your dog’s body. Telltale signs are bad breath, loose tooth, your dog displaying pain when you clean their teeth, sneezing, and some nasal discharge.
Gingivitis is a condition we humans can also suffer from. It’s basically inflammation of the gums, caused by the accumulation of too much food debris, that turns into plaque, tartar and bacteria. It occurs above and below the gumline.
Signs of gingivitis include red and swollen gums, and bad breath. Regularly cleaning your dog’s teeth can reverse gingivitis. Easy!
Halitosis is a posh name for bad breath. This can be the first sign of a number of dangerous oral conditions, and is caused by the bacteria of food that’s caught between teeth. Again, regularly clean your dog’s teeth and you can easily avoid this one.
Swollen gums can occur with a buildup up tartar. You guessed it: the answer is regular teeth cleans. An annual teeth clean at the vet’s can’t hurt, either.
Proliferating gum disease happens if a dog’s gum grows over the edge of their teeth. This is vital to be treated in order to avoid gums getting infected. This can be an inherited condition that bull terriers and boxers are prone to. Antibiotics from your vet are the only cure here.
A mouth tumor will look like a lump in your dog’s gums. They may be malignant, and will need surgical removal. See your vet immediately if you suspect it has a tumor.
A salivary cyst will look like a large blister, occurring under the dog’s tongue. They can also pop up in the concerns of a dog’s jaw. These need to be drained.
Canine distemper teeth can also occur, especially if your dog had distemper when it was a puppy. Their adult teeth can look eroded, and this damage can be permanent. This is another serious one where you should seek your vet’s advice straight away.
Did you know that simply chewing actually reduced your dog’s stress levels? It prevents boredom and gives him or her a suitable outlet for their aggressive need to chew.
As your vet about dog dieting. They can provide specially formulated food that slows down plaque formation. If you can avoid feeding your dog table scraps, this also goes a long way towards keeping their mouth healthy. Proper, healthy dog snacks are much better.