Never underestimate the importance of looking after your dog’s teeth. It can easily slip your mind but the truth is that our dog’s teeth and gums are just as prone to disease as ours so it’s something we need to keep on top of.
Neglected teeth can cause many problems for your pooch; heart, liver and kidney damage, oral disease and trouble eating their food - which is surely every dog’s nightmare! But don’t worry - there’s plenty of ways we can spare them of that misery.
Brush their teeth
It’s an obvious but important point - brush your dog’s teeth regularly to get rid of any plaque. If you haven’t had the chance to start this from an early age, it can be a little tricky to get your dog used to this, but definitely not impossible. As with anything, take baby steps and introduce the idea slowly.
If you have a puppy or you are planning on getting a puppy in the future, start early. Dental care should begin while your puppy still has their deciduous puppy teeth. They lose these teeth at around 4-6 months old. Puppy’s minds are like sponges and the more you can expose them to at a young age - such as having their teeth cleaned - the less they will be phased by it over the course of their lives.
Find yourself a suitable dog dental hygiene set and never use the toothpaste from your bathroom cabinet. Many toothpastes designed for humans contain ingredients that will be toxic for your pooch!
Keep an eye on their mouth
Again, get your dog used to being handled so that you can comfortably take a look in their mouth to check that everything is looking healthy. You can do this by introducing the idea gently over time, and rewarding them letting you check their mouth with plenty of treats.
When checking them over, if you see angry, red gums, any swelling or yellow-brown coloured tartar then this could be reason for concern. Also take a good look at the state of their teeth - any chips, breakages or gaps?
Your dog's behaviour can also indicate any dental issues. Drooling, dropping food when they eat, eating on one side of their mouth or not eating at all can all be red flags. Get to know what’s going on in your dog's mouth so that if they do find themselves with any dental issues, you can spot the signs early and get in touch with your vet.
Give them the right chews
Aside from brushing your dog’s teeth, you can give them suitable chews and toys to keep their nashers in check. One of the best things to treat your dog to is an antler. Antlers are perfect because they’re longlasting. Your dog can chew away on one for weeks, gradually grinding it down. Whilst they do so, they will be unknowingly cleaning and strengthening their teeth. It’s a win-win! Along with antlers, you could also try buffalo horns or no-hide beef chews.
No one likes seeing their dog in pain, so spare them feeling uncomfortable by keeping their mouth as healthy as possible. Not only are dental problems bad for your dog, they can become very expensive to solve. Taking five minutes out to brush your dog’s teeth and carry out a few checks will always be worth it.