Posted By: Laurie Brzostowski, President, Snaggle Foot Dog Walks and Pet Care-Round Lake
Written By: Stacey Kalinnikova
Healthy teeth are essential for a happy dog and a big slobbery smile. Neglecting to care for canine teeth can lead to bad breath and discomfort when eating. Managing your dog’s oral hygiene can be a battle, but it can be conquered.
1. Brush, brush, brush!
Just like humans, the best method to combat plaque build up on canine teeth is by brushing. Children's toothbrushes work well because they are generally softer and smaller than adult types. Dog toothbrushes are also available which are soft and fit over your fingertip for ease of use. It is important to use a specifically formulated dog toothpaste as human ones are toxic to dogs.
Brushing should be introduced to puppies with lots of positive reinforcement. Small treats can be given at first to associate brushing with praise and reward. Older dogs can be introduced to brushing with the same technique. If your dog completely detests the toothbrush approach, dental pads are available for wiping the teeth and gum line free of bacterial build up.
2. Oral care food and treats
The type of food that you feed your pooch makes a difference for their teeth. Dry food diets are better for dental health than canned foods. There are also specialised dental diets available. They have a larger sized biscuit which helps to support clean teeth by facilitating the crunching action.
Dental treats and rawhide chews are widely available. Chewing promotes clean teeth by helping to prevent plaque and tartar build up. Care should be taken when giving rawhide chews to your dog to prevent accidental ingestion and choking. Dogs should be supervised and chews should be taken away when they become small enough to swallow.
3. Chew toys
All dogs love a variety of fun and safe toys. Smooth rubber toys and nylon bones are good options that promote clean teeth and healthy gums. Toys such as tennis balls and frisbees are good in moderation, but have abrasive surfaces which will have a negative impact on dental health. Dogs that are allowed to chew excessively on abrasive toys will gradually wear down the enamel on the surface of the teeth. It is best to limit your dog’s playing time with such toys.
Implementing a dental care plan for your dog will only take a short time each day. Healthy teeth will keep your dog happy and smiling for years to come.