Oral hygiene is vital in the overall health of your dog, yet it is commonly overlooked by many dog owners. In fact, four out of every five dogs over the age of three years have some sort of dental disease which becomes more severe with age. While dogs are not as prone to cavities as humans are, they can develop many dental problems which can lead to life-threatening infections and issues. At Railway Avenue Veterinary Hospital, we are the vet Armadale dog-owners trust to deliver high quality pet care for their canine companions. When it comes to a dog’s oral health, most problems are preventable so let’s take a look at how you can help to keep your dog’s teeth in top condition.
Brush His Teeth Regularly
While brushing your dog’s teeth might be difficult at first, with a little persistence you can make it an easier experience for both of you. Here’s a few handy tips that might help:
- Start when your dog is a puppy – grown dogs will be become comfortable with tooth brushing over time, but it’s much easier to start the routine when your pup is little.
- Choose a time when your dog has been for a walk or had a large amount of exercise, this way he will be more likely to sit still.
- Start slowly and stop if your dog gets agitated. You can increase the brushing time every day as he gets used to it.
- Use a canine toothbrush and tilt the brush to a 45-degree angle to clean below the gum line.
- Do NOT use regular human toothpaste for your dog. You can find toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs at most good pet stores and vet clinics.
- Reward your dog with a treat afterwards.
Most experts recommend that daily brushing is ideal, but aiming for three to four times per week should be sufficient.
Watch His Diet
Ensure you feed your pets nutritionally balanced dog food. Dry food is less likely to stick to teeth and cause plaque build-up and if tooth health is an issue, specially formulated dry foods that don’t crumble easily can wear away plaque and tartar with chewing. Also avoid feeding your pup human scraps that are high in carbs and sugars and make sure they don’t have access to rubbish, yard debris, or anything else they shouldn’t be eating.
Give Him Bones and Chew Toys
Chewing is a natural behaviour in dogs and one that can benefit their oral hygiene. There are many synthetic bones and chew toys, ropes and rawhides that are specially designed to strengthen your dog’s gums and teeth and act as natural flossers. Raw meat bones can also help get rid of build-up and keep teeth strong.
Book in for Routine Dental Cleanings
Just like with human teeth, a toothbrush will not give the teeth a proper deep clean like a professional can. Make an appointment with your vet on an annual basis to perform a routine clean where they scale plaque and tartar, clean the gum line, and polish the teeth. Simple dental examinations should be included as part of your pet’s yearly check-up, however a full dental clean is usually a separate procedure.
See a Veterinarian at the First Sign of a Dental Problem
It’s important to frequently take a look inside your dog’s mouth, and if you notice any of the following conditions, it may be a sign of a dental problem and you should take your dog to the vet.
- Bad breath
- Changes in eating or chewing
- Pawing at the face or mouth
- Excessive drooling
- Discoloured, broken or missing teeth
- Red, swollen or bleeding gums
- Yellow or brown tartar along the gum line
With simple care and maintenance, it’s easy to keep your dog’s teeth clean and keep you both smiling!
Railway Avenue Veterinary Hospital is the Armadale-Byford vet trusted by pet owners to keep their furry friends healthy and happy all year round. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the health of your pet or to make an appointment for a routine check-up, book online or call us today on (08) 9497 1547.