Is your doggy’s smile dingy? Or worse yet, is his breath making you not so fond of doggy kisses? Over 80% of dogs suffer from periodontal disease by age 3 (!), affecting both the teeth and gums. This can lead to a series of symptoms and problems that can become much worse than just bad breath. But don’t fret! With a little doggy dental care, you and your pup can both be smiling again.
How to identify tooth and gum problems in your dog:
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Discoloration of the teeth and gums
- Drooling or bleeding from the mouth
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite or difficulty eating
- Sensitive mouth
- Loss of interest in toys - due to discomfort
If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms it’s time for a visit to the vet who will help ensure there isn’t an infection or underlying problem.
What to do if your dog’s smile is less than sparkling:
- Professional cleaning - Dogs should have their pearly whites professionally cleaned at least once a year. The pros can get into the nooks and crannies, where your dog likely won’t let you venture, for a much more thorough and deep cleaning.
- Brush your dog’s teeth at home - If your dogs are anything like mine, they might not let you near their mouths, but it’s amazing what a little peanut butter flavored toothpaste can do (just be careful they don’t try to take your finger with it!) Even a little brushing at home is better than nothing, and can help keep your dog’s mouth fresh between professional cleanings.
- Dental treats and toys- If your dog’s mouth needs a little extra love, or you just want to give them something that does more than make their tail wag, dental treats and toys are a great option. Keep in mind that not all toys and treats are created equal, so make sure to look at the ingredients to keep unwanted additives and sugars out of your dog’s dental care. While food, treats and toys won’t keep your dog away from the vet for more serious dental disease, they are an excellent way to prevent tarter build up and to keep your dog’s teeth on track.
With a little diligence and consistency your dog’s smile will be brightening your day!