I recently took a visit to the dentist due a cavity that was beginning to form on an upper molar. Fortunately, my dentist was able to take care of it, so I am confident I won’t lose that particular tooth. Dentists say teeth are meant to last a lifetime and this is only possible with proper care. Just like humans, dogs can keep their teeth for a lifetime if their owners take good care of them.
One of the things to do is brush your dog’s teeth on a regular basis. Just like any other behavior you want to train your dog to acquire, it’s advisable to start early. Start brushing your dog’s teeth from an early age so that he gets used to it from the word go.
If you did not start early, all is not lost. You can start right now because better late than never. Start slowly and observe how your dog reacts. Most likely he will be against it so you need to practice patience. Stop brushing when your dog shows agitation, and resume on a different day. With time he will get used to having his teeth brushed and hopefully without too much fuss.
Make sure you only use toothpaste made for dogs because the fluoride in toothpaste designed for humans is poisonous to dogs. There are also toothbrushes available in most pet stores that are specifically designed for dogs. These tend to be longer than ordinary toothbrushes to enable you to reach the last tooth in your dog’s mouth.
In addition to brushing, chew toys aid in maintaining optimum dental health in your dog. These toys are designed to massage the dog’s gums, which helps eliminate and keep plaque at bay. Giving your dog non-edible bones like Flavorit™ bones, also massages their gums and provides scraping action on their teeth, much like a dental hygienist descaling the plaque from human teeth.
If possible, feed your dog dry food. This is because dry food does not stick to teeth as much as soft food does, so the possibility of a plaque buildup is minimal.
In case you notice any dental problems in your pet such as bad breath or yellow teeth, seek help from your vet. Just like in human dental health, preventing cavities is better than curing them, so have your vet check your dog’s teeth regularly. The vet should include these dental checkups when he is checking your dog’s general wellness.
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