5 Home Dog Dental Care Tips

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5 Home Dog Dental Care Tips

Staff Writer · Apr 26, 2010

Dog dental care is an extremely important part of a dog’s overall good health. Of course, your dog should receive a thorough dental cleaning once a year by a trained veterinary dental technician. However, there are several things you can do at home to maintain your dog’s healthy teeth and prevent problems.

1. Dry Foods Only

While it may not appear as appetizing to us, dry food helps prevent and remove tartar from your dog’s teeth. Each feeding, therefore, is also a dental cleaning. Wet foods, in contrast, often saturate and stick to your dog’s gums and teeth, possibly attracting tartar or increasing the chances of decay. Be aware, though, that elderly dogs may no longer have the jaw strength to chew hard food, requiring you to feed him wet food or add water to his dry food to make it softer.

2. Give a Dog a Bone!

Not only do dogs typically love bones, but they’re good for his teeth. Chewing on a bone removes tartar and other buildup that can cause bad breath and tooth decay. There are several types of bones out there specially designed to your dog’s dental health, but often simple rawhide will do the trick. Make sure to purchase the appropriate bone for your dog’s size as he could swallow one that is too small, causing serious intestinal damage.

3. Brush At Home

It may sound ridiculous, but you can brush your dog’s teeth. Wet an appropriately-sized human toothbrush with water and brush his teeth as you would your own. Your job does not have to be particularly thorough, just enough to remove any residue from his food. Do not use human toothpaste on your dog as it may make him sick. There are specially designed doggy toothpastes, but they are unnecessary. However, if your dog bites, do not brush his teeth.

Start brushing your dog’s teeth while he is young as he will eventually grow accustomed to the task and not run from it or bite during it. Developing good dental habits while he is a puppy will mean better dental health in the long run.

4. Visit the Vet

Your dog’s overall health will affect his dental health. Dogs with heart, liver or kidney problems may have more dental problems. Not only should your dog receive a yearly dental cleaning, but he must also receive a yearly checkup to make sure everything is in good working order. Additionally, remain up to date on his vaccinations, as this will prevent him from becoming sick which may result in him developing dental problems.

Take your dog to the vet if he begins to experience bad breath, a change in eating or chewing habits, excessive drooling, red or swollen gums or paws at his mouth. These behaviors are signs of a new or developing dental issue that may need to be addressed.

5. Use Treats Sparingly

Dog treats are useful when training your dog, but should be used sparingly nonetheless. Treats often contain high amounts of carbohydrates which turn into sugar in your dog’s body, increasing the risk of tooth decay. If you must use treats, use dry and not moist ones, as moist treats may stick to your dog’s teeth.

Caring for your dog’s teeth is an essential part of caring for his overall health. While it may seem silly, brushing your dog’s teeth with an appropriately sized brush will go a long way in keeping his teeth clean. If you notice any changes in your dog’s mouth or eating habits, consult your vet to ensure there is not a problem that needs to be addressed.

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