Why Preventative Care is Best: A Guide to Teeth Cleaning in Dogs
Just like in humans, dental health plays a vital role in a dog’s overall health and quality of life. Poor oral hygiene can lead to various health problems that go beyond bad breath and discoloured teeth. Neglecting your dog’s dental health can result in significant issues such as gum disease, tooth decay, and even systemic infections. These problems will lead to pain, discomfort and a reduced quality of life for your furry friend. In addition, chronic dental infections can have long-term consequences, potentially affecting their heart, liver and kidney health.
Preventative Care vs. Reactive Measures
When it comes to your dog’s oral health, the saying “prevention is better than cure” holds true. Preventative care for your dog’s teeth and gum care is not only more effective but also more cost-effective than reacting to dental problems once they occur. The key reasons why a proactive approach is the best choice:
- Avoiding Pain and Discomfort: Dental issues are painful for dogs. Preventative care can help them avoid the pain associated with conditions like gingivitis, rotting and loose teeth and tooth root abscesses.
- Prolonged Lifespan: Oral health is closely linked to a dog’s overall well-being. By taking care of their teeth, you can potentially extend their lifespan and enhance their quality of life.
- Preventing Systemic Health Issues: Poor oral health in dogs has been linked to systemic health issues such as heart disease and kidney problems. Regular teeth cleaning can reduce the risk of these serious conditions.
- Improved Bond with Your Dog: Dogs with healthy mouths are more likely to be playful and affectionate, which can strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend.
- Reducing Veterinary Bills: Treating dental problems after they’ve already developed can be costly. Routine preventative care is a more budget-friendly option.
The Basics of Canine Teeth Cleaning
To ensure healthy teeth and gums for your dog, here are some recommended practices:
- Diet: Consider providing a diet that gets your dog chewing with each mouthful. This can be dry food, meaty chunks, pieces of hard vegetables like carrots. Please be careful with bones though as sadly these can be hard enough to cause fractured teeth!
- Dental Diets: Prescription diets like Royal Canin Dental Care and Hills Canine T/D are designed to support dental health and have been proven to reduce and remove tartar on teeth.
- Dental Chews: A dental dog chew is a supplementary treat that when used in tandem with a daily teeth brushing routine can enhance a dog’s oral health and hygiene. Brands such as Greenies and Oravet have been shown by the VOHC Veterinary Oral Health Council to help with dental care. For a more comprehensive list please see visit: VOHCAcceptedProductsTable_Dogs.pdf
- Chew Toys: any chews that your dog chews on will help their teeth and gums stay healthy and strong
- Finger Brushing: Use specially designed dog toothbrushes. Gently clean your dog’s gums and teeth often (daily works best!) to prevent tartar buildup. To help your dog become comfortable with brushing, start by applying some doggy specific, flavoured toothpaste to your finger and letting your pet lick it. Gradually increase contact time as your dog becomes more tolerant and use treats to reward their cooperation.
- Aim for 5 seconds on each tooth, brushing once daily.
- Pay special attention to the tooth’s base, brushing at a 45° angle with the gum-line.
- Avoid vigorous side-to-side brushing, as it may damage the gums. Instead, use a gentle circular, flicking motion along the gum-line.
- Focus on brushing only the outside of the teeth, as the tongue naturally maintains the inside.”
When it comes to the health and happiness of your canine companion, preventative care is the best approach. Teeth cleaning in dogs is a crucial aspect of their overall well-being, and it’s a responsibility that every dog owner should take seriously. By adopting a proactive approach to oral hygiene, you can help your furry friend avoid pain, discomfort, and serious health issues, all while enhancing the quality of their life and deepening your bond. So, grab that toothbrush, invest in some dental products, and make regular veterinary check-ups a priority – your dog’s smile will thank you!
At Vetmed, we are always here to help and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision when it comes to the health and wellbeing of your pet. Vetmed offers comprehensive pet care services, with four clinic locations across the Eastern Suburbs and the Northern Beaches, including Lindfield, Randwick, Forestville, and Northbridge. If you have any questions about your pet’s health and wellbeing, your local Vetmed team is here to help! Contact us today.