Studies show that by the age of 3, 80% of dogs show signs of gum disease.
It is often overlooked, but pets can suffer the same kinds of dental problems as humans, including severe pain, infection and tooth loss. You can help prevent those issues – and solve those that do arise – by learning about the basics of tooth care.
Most dental problems start small and build over time for dogs. Beginning at a very young age, food particles, bacteria and debris can build up at the gum line and under the gums to form plaque. Left unattended, plaque can harden to become calculus and lead to serious oral conditions, including gingivitis, periodontitis and stomatitis.
Here are some simple tips for better oral health:
Watch Your Dogs Diet
Studies show that hard kibble is better. If you do feed your dog canned food, it's better to mix it in with some hard kibble. We feed Gracie hard kibble but we do also mix in a tiny bit of canned food to give it that extra taste she loves!
Give Your Dog Something to Chew On
We are very careful when we give Gracie something to chew on. We've had great success with Nylabones - she really loves these. We buy the bones where Gracie can't break off any large pieces - she's a very strong chewer! Another option is one of Gracie's favorites - an antler. Deer antlers are less likely to split or splinter and they do not make a mess. They are the perfect chew toy.
Look for Tarter Control Treats
There are dental chews specifically designed to help control plaque and tarter buildup. Although we choose not to go this route, it may be an easier option for you and your dog.
Consider Drinking Water Additives
Drinking water additives reduces plaque and tartar by killing the bacteria in your dog's mouth; they also help to reduce tooth decay. Talk with your veterinarian first about options.
Avoid Feeding Your Dog Table Scaps
Do not feed your dog human food or sweet treats because they can increase the buildup of plaque and tartar, and may lead to other health problems. The only table scrap Gracie gets from us is a raw carrot or piece of apple every now and then. She loves carrots and apples. If she hears us eating a raw carrot or cutting and apple with the apple corer, she comes running!
Brushing Your Dog's Teeth
It is important to keep your dogs teeth clean. Ideally you would brush them every day, or every other day. To be perfecting honest, we brush Gracie's teeth twice a week because we use a secret weapon daily (oral care spray - see below). But after watching the video below we are going to make an effort to do this daily. We use a pet toothpaste flavored with peanut butter because Gracie loves peanut butter!
Check our this great 3 minute video below on how to brush your dog's teeth:
Oral Care Spray
PetzLife puts out a product called Oral Care Spray which is great. We use it daily on Gracie's teeth. Every night before bed she gets a couple of sprays and she doesn't seem to mind it at all. In fact she's quite used to it now. This spray helps remove plaque and tarter buildup. It kills bacteria and freshens her breath too!
Dental care is very important and plays a major role in the health of you dog.
Do you brush your dog's teeth on a regular basis?
Inquiring dog minds what to know.
Special "shout out" to our dog Gracie for posing in the picture above. That's our good girl.