Posted on: 17 October 2019
Most pet owners spend a lot of time thinking about the health of the animals in their care. If you have a dog, you're probably doing a lot to look after their physical health: giving them flea drops every month and worming tablets every three months, taking them to a groomer a few times a year, buying them a high-quality food and making sure they don't eat cooked bones or anything else that could be potentially dangerous for them. But are you doing enough to protect their dental health? If you're not sure what you need to do to ensure that your dog's teeth last them a lifetime, read on.
Consider the ways your dog's diet might be helping or hindering their oral health.
Anything that can hurt human teeth will have the same effect on your dog's, so avoid giving them anything with sugar in (they don't need it at all) and don't let them chew on stones or anything else hard enough to chip a tooth. Make sure their diet is at least partially made up of dry dog food, as crunching away on it helps keep their teeth a little cleaner. Additionally, wet food can stick to their teeth and gums, which dry food is much less prone to. Give them something crunchy as a treat, such as a carrot every night at bedtime, and consider adding a daily dental chew to their routine.
Brush your dog's teeth at least once a week.
Brushing a dog's teeth might sound a little daunting, but if you approach it properly it can end up being a fun time for both of you! Start slowly the first time you try to do it, and have plenty of treats on hand to reward and reassure them every step of the way. Larger dogs will definitely need a specialised canine toothbrush; if you have a smaller dog it might be okay to use a human one, but you should never brush your dog's teeth with human toothpaste. Fluoride and other human toothpaste ingredients are toxic to dogs of all sizes, so always buy a paste designed specifically for dogs.
Take your dog for a professional dental cleaning annually.
Most dog owners are on top of getting their dog an annual booster shot, but it's just as important to have an annual teeth cleaning, much as your dentist does for your own teeth. The process is similar to a full cleaning at a human dentist, and if your dog is already acclimated to having their teeth brushed at home it shouldn't be a difficult experience for them. Some dogs may need to be sedated for this, however, so speak to a qualified veterinary dentist about what would be best for your furry friend.
Just as with human medicine, veterinary dentistry is a different specialisation than more general animal medical care. Your usual vet will probably know which local veterinary dentists are the best ones, however, and may even employ one at their own practice--so take a little time at your next checkup to ask them for a recommendation.Share