February is National Pet Dental Health Month! To help raise awareness for the importance of canine oral care, here are 7 warning signs your dog’s teeth need more attention.
1. Plaque and Tarter Build Up
Just like we strive for pearly white teeth, our dogs’ chompers should be stain-free too. But if you’re not showing your pup’s teeth routine TLC then they will start to develop yellow/brown stains. Even a slight discoloration around the gum line should serve as a red flag since that bacteria can creep into your pup’s bloodstream and start affecting his internal organs.
The longer you allow plaque and tarter to build up, the worse it can become. In some cases, years of buildup have resulted in this:
And, trust me, this isn’t comfortable for your dog!
2. Stinky Breath
When canines are first born, they have that skunky yet comforting puppy breath. As they mature, though, your dog’s breath should be relatively odorless (just like yours after a good morning brushing). If you notice changes in your pup’s breath, don’t just turn your nose up. Bacteria buildup and infected teeth could be the root cause.
3. Bleeding Gums
As you already know, in humans, poor dental hygiene can lead to sensitive, inflamed, and bleeding gums. Well, it’s the same for canines. If you notice your dog’s gums are sensitive when brushing or find blood on their favorite toys, it’s time to take action.
4. Loose Teeth
When a dog suffers from periodontal disease, tarter spreads under the gum line. This causes gum recession, bone loss, and an overall loss of the structure that supports a tooth. That means your dog’s teeth may start coming loose and even fall out. Regularly monitor your pup’s mouth so you know what is normal. Some experts even recommend periodically putting on some gloves and gently feeling your pup’s teeth (if your dog allows you to, of course). That way, you can easily spot changes.
5. Changes In Eating Habits
Think of it this way—if your teeth/gums are tender, sore, or in pain, are you going to want to indulge in a big meal? Unless it’s soup or something else that doesn’t require any chewing, the answer is pretty clear! It’s the same with our canine companions. If you notice your pooch having difficulty chewing or he suddenly loses interest in the food bowl then schedule a vet dental exam ASAP.
6. Constant Licking The Air
There are a few reasons why a dog compulsively licks the air, but one common cause is dental pain. A few years ago, I was dog-sitting a co-worker’s Chihuahua, who had very poor oral hygiene. That little boy would sit on my couch for hours and lick the air. Why? Well, it was his attempt to soothe the pain. If you find your pup repeating this behavior, it’s worth checking out his teeth.
7. Pawing At Mouth
Dogs are great at hiding their pain, but sometimes they point right to it. If your pup is pawing at his mouth, chances are something is bothering him. He may have something caught between his teeth or he may be signaling oral pain.
Are Your Dog’s Teeth Making Him Sick?
According to Dogs Naturally, more than 70 percent of dogs and cats will suffer from periodontal disease (AKA gum disease) by the time they’re just two years old. That’s a pretty scary statistic! Now that you’ve seen the warning signs of poor oral care, find out what a lack of dental attention could mean for your pet in this article.
Must-See Oral Care Products
If your pooch shows any of the signs listed above, consult with your vet. Additionally, it’s essential to adopt a regular oral care routine. Start here to find out the proper way to brush your pup’s teeth. If your dog isn’t ready for brushing quite yet, or you are just looking for other ways to help keep your canine kid’s teeth clean, check out these products:
My dogs and I love this unique toy! This simple yet effective rubber toy features two sides of spikes that brush against your dog’s teeth and gums as he chews and slobbers on it. The spikes vary in sizes and angles, helping to grind off any plaque or tartar that has accumulated on your pup’s teeth. It’s important to note that this product sells out quickly—so if you see it in your dog’s size then add it to your shopping cart ASAP! Every sale provides one toy to a dog shelter in need.
I’m actually a huge fan of dental sprays (as long as they’re made from natural ingredients) because I’ve seen their magic in action. My mom’s toy Poodle had experienced a lot of tartar and plaque build-up, which led to extremely stinky breath. With the help of a natural dental spray, she was able to knock off a lot of the nasty gunk from her dog’s teeth. When you use a dental spray, you gently pull back your pup’s lips and spray directly on the largest area of tartar. No brushing required. This product recommends using twice daily for heavy tartar build-up or once daily for moderate build-up. This product helps feed 14 shelter dogs in need!
This pack of 50 dental wipes is drenched in a solution with antimicrobial activities. Using these dental wipes helps reduce plaque and tartar buildup, dental calculus, and stinky breath. They’re simple to use—gently lift you pup’s lips with one hand and use a pad to wipe their teeth with your other hand. Each purchase provides 7 meals for shelter or rescue dogs!