Many of us brush our teeth twice a day and still feel the need to make a dental appointment every six to eight months for professional cleaning. We all know the feeling of fuzziness on teeth, even if a single cleaning ritual gets missed.
Now imagine if someone does not clean their teeth for years; that might be the case with your pets. Many pet owners forget that veterinary oral health is as necessary as other dog essentials.
Dog teeth cleaning and gum maintenance are crucial not only for your canine friend’s health but overall well-being as well. One of the best ways to make sure of that is through regular brushing and routine checkups with your vet.
What are the Signs Your Pet Needs a Dental Hygiene Intervention?
In this section, we have rounded up a list of alarming signs that indicate tooth decay, rottenness, and abscess. If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, consult the vet immediately. They would use certain trusted veterinary dental products appropriate for your dog’s problem. However, remember that your dog’s teeth cleaning regime needs regular brushing and periodic visits to the vet regardless of the following symptoms.
- You might notice a buildup of plaque or dental calculus along the gum line or on the insides of the teeth. Due to the deposit, the teeth would decolorize to yellow or brown.
- If it has been long since you have made a dental hygiene appointment, your pet’s teeth might rot and start breaking off.
- The gums surrounding the teeth might appear inflamed or swollen. The dog would drool more than usual or bleed from the mouth into the food bowl.
- In some cases, the inflamed gums can appear to leave their place and retract from the teeth. Consequently, your pet’s teeth become loose and are prone to falling off.
- Your dog constantly has bad breath
You can even look for warning signs in your pet’s behavior. It might
- Not let you touch its face,
- Chew on one side of the mouth, or
- Become picky with food choices.
Tips for Preventing Cavities and Plaque Build-Up
Here is a list of remedies that can help you protect your pup’s dental hygiene and overall well-being.
1. Brush Often
The best method for plaque prevention is to brush your pet’s teeth at least 3 to four times per week. If you want those whites shining, select a safe toothpaste and clean them thoroughly. Puppies usually enjoy teeth brushing, so that’s the best stage for developing this habit.
2. Wipes for the Gap Days
For the days you do not brush your dog’s teeth, you can use tooth wipes to clean the debris off. However, wipes cannot get between teeth like a brush’s bristles, so they are not a substitute for brushing. A regular brushing ritual followed by wipes works the best.
3. Dental Sealants
One of the biggest challenges for pet owners is keeping the area where the tooth meets the gum line safe from plaque buildup. It might start building up again after a professional cleanup. That’s where tooth sealants forming a barrier between the dog’s teeth and debris come to the rescue. These barrier sealants work by avoiding bacteria sticking to the teeth and gums. These dental sealants are made from non-toxic materials that are safe for pets of any age.
4. Good Feed
You might have heard that bones help with plaque prevention, so they must be great for your dog’s teeth. But this is not true because they might be the reason behind your pet’s pearly whites chipping off.
Likewise, human foods foster plaque growth. Hence they must not be in your pet’s bowl. Try to prefer dog food more because it promotes a different saliva pH, which is hostile to caries-forming bacteria.
5. Food and Water Additives
Food and water additives can reduce plaque formation in your pet’s mouth. Some of them have a scrubbing action, which is quite useful for keeping the enamel squeaky clean. Such food agents are easy to find and approved by Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC).
6. Look for Specific Ingredients
Veterinary oral health experts have always preferred natural ingredients for tooth decay. Vitamin C and Zinc are organic cures for your pet’s swollen gums and decay. Papain, pomegranate, blueberry, clove, and chlorophyll are also on the list. On the inorganic side, chlorhexidine gluconate and sodium hexametaphosphate curtail plaque and bacterial growth.
7. Chew Toys
Dental chews freshen your dog’s breath by keeping their teeth free of plaque buildup. Your dog would love you for providing them a treat for chewing. Besides, these toys are soft and easy to toss around without the fear of breaking.
8. Hygiene Gels
Several gels are available in the market that you can apply to your dog’s swollen gums. If your pet doesn’t let you touch its mouth, you can layer them on a chew toy. Such products linger in the mouth for a few hours and kill germs.
9. At-Home Checkups
Your pet not letting you close to their mouth is not a reason to get away with their oral hygiene. Squat down to their level, give them a tummy rub, and examine for cavities, decay, chipping, plaque, etc.
10. Professional Appointments
Visiting a veterinary oral health practitioner once or twice a year can keep your pet from the agony of tooth decay and extraction. Many dogs develop dental problems after three years of age because of compromised oral hygiene.
Your pet’s oral hygiene is as important as other pet essentials. Maintaining good oral hygiene can save your pet from a lot of discomfort and pain caused by tooth cavities and loss of appetite. Brush your dog’s teeth regularly and use the right veterinary dental equipment to ensure that your pet stays as happy and healthy as it can be.
- How does plaque form on the tooth surface?
Plaque is a natural consequence of eating formed by the combination of saliva, food, and bacteria on teeth. Typically, but not always, it is yellow, brown, or orange in color.
- Do I have to buy any specific brush or toothpaste for my dog?
It is preferable to buy pet-specific toothpaste for your dog’s oral hygiene. Similarly, a brush with soft bristles will make the process easier for you and your pet.
- Is it normal if my pet has black gums?
If your pup does not have bad breath or gum bleeding, then black gums are not alarming. It might be something it was born with, like Chows.
- How does a dental sealant work?
A sealant acts like a liquid barrier that covers the tooth enamel against the deposition of plaque. It dries almost quickly and allows water and oxygen to pass through so the gum line can remain healthy.