A huge number of dogs end up with serious tooth and gum problems, in fact it’s estimated that as many as 80% of dogs suffer from some form of gum disease. If you discover signs of dental decay, such as bad breath, swollen gums and the brown/yellow build up of tartar along the gumline, don’t panic – read our guide to doggy dental care and long term oral health!
Daily brushing is vital
Regular brushing is the key to canine dental health but this may be easier said than done. If your dog is not keen on having your hands in his mouth (and vice versa!) then build up to the brushing slowly. Try just softly massaging his gums with a finger a couple of times a day for a few weeks before moving on to using a toothbrush and paste. NEVER use human toothpaste as this can cause tummy upsets in dogs. Special dog toothbrushes with smaller heads are available as well as meaty flavoured canine toothpastes such as beaphar Dog-A-Dent Toothpaste. Brush using small circular motions and pay special attention to the outside of the teeth as this area tends to build up more tartar.
In addition to daily brushing, many chews, toys and special diets are available to help promote good dental health.
The fun way to achieve pearly white teeth! The clever designs of canine dental toys, with ridges and knobs, make them very effective at removing soft tartar from the teeth as your dog chomps down on them.
Pedigree Dentastix chews are designed to clean teeth through their special shape and texture and are proven to remove up to 50% of plaque when fed daily. Chewing on rawhide is also great for cleaning teeth and gums while also satisfying your dog’s natural urge to chew (making it less likely he’ll choose your shoes for this purpose!) In the wild, dogs and wolves would have their teeth rubbed clean by the action of chewing on raw bones. Rawhide chews are a great, splinter free alternative.
Oral care diets
It goes without saying that you should avoid poor quality dog foods or treats which contain added sugar. If you are concerned about your dog’s oral health, look for a specially formulated dental diet containing sodium tripolyphosphate which helps bind salivary calcium before it can form into plaque. Special dental kibbles with a more abrasive texture can help to remove plaque further down the teeth but do not assume this is enough to fully clean your dog’s teeth – daily brushing is still essential!
If your dog continues to be very resistant to tooth brushing don’t panic (or risk your fingers). PlaqueOff Animal is a natural type of seaweed rich in natural iodine and contains important vitamins and minerals. Sprinkled over your dog’s food every day, existing tartar will brighten over time (depending on the state of your dog’s teeth) and may then be quite easily scraped off.