Tartar, plaque buildup, and gingivitis… oh, my!
Along with your own oral hygiene, it’s important to pay close attention to your pup’s pearly whites. Poor oral hygiene will not only leave your four-legged friend with yellow/brown teeth and stinky breath in the short term. It could also lead to tooth loss and life-threatening infections. Canine dental problems have been linked to heart disease, liver disease, and kidney disease.
To help keep your dog’s teeth clean, check out the following 4 tips:
1) Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
When you brush your own teeth, grab your pup’s toothbrush/ toothpaste and clean their teeth as well. According to Cesar Millan:
“The best brush to use is double-headed with the brushes at a 45-degree angle to clean below the gumline.”
It’s best to start off when your fur baby is young. But no matter what age you start brushing your dog’s teeth, most don’t like it. Just be patient. Start off brushing their teeth for less than a minute and work your way up.
*It’s important to note that you cannot use human toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth. Instead, pick up a formula specially made for dogs. You can find doggy toothpaste at your local pet store or you can make some yourself. Check out this easy dog toothpaste recipe:
2) Wipe Your Dog’s Teeth With Oral Pads
While you’re working your way up to teeth brushing, you can try using canine dental pads. By wiping your fur baby gum line, you will get rid of some bacteria and food residue. You can get canine dental pads in your local pet store, or simply use a gauze pad.
3) Feed Your Pooch a Healthy Diet
It may come as no surprise that your dog’s diet has a lot to do with his oral health. Feeding processed kibble and store-bought commercial treats that are filled with sugar take a toll on your dog’s pearly whites. Focus on feeding your canine kid whole foods – nourishing meats, vegetables, and fruits.
Looking for quick, easy, and healthy snack options that can benefit your pup’s teeth? Try tossing your pooch a carrot or apple slices.
4) Natural Chews and Bones
When your dog chews on hard bones he is naturally knocking off that unwanted plaque and tarter. It’s important to note that I’m not talking about controversial rawhide bones here, though. Rather, I’m referring to natural chews and bones.
Symptoms of Poor Oral Hygiene
Smaller dogs are prone to dental problems. So even if you are brushing your dog’s teeth, feeding him a healthy diet, and giving him lots of bones, you should still keep a close eye on his teeth. If you notice any of the following symptoms, pay your vet a visit:
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Yellowish-brown tartar build-up along the gum line
- Red or swollen gums
- Bumps in the mouth
- Pawing at face
If your vet wants to take action, make sure to do your homework on the procedure first.