(DOGS/PET CARE/PET HEALTH) Dental care and oral hygiene is as important for dogs as it is for us. Pets can get many of the same tooth and gum diseases as people. Here are some tips on at-home dental care to keep your pet healthy and happy. Also, learn how to brush your dog’s teeth. — Global Animal
(Dog)Spired, Leslie Brown
Nobody likes to see his or her dog unhappy, upset, or showing any signs that appear to resemble depression. However, like us, having sore or painful teeth can alter their mood.
The health of your dog’s teeth can have a major impact on his wellbeing, happiness, and how he acts toward you. Many dog owners are actually surprised to learn that if their dog is having teeth problems, it has an enormous impact on behavior and general disposition.
Your dog’s gums can be a truly miserable experience. Tartar and plaque can form on your dog’s teeth as they can on your own, and tooth loss and gum disease can just as easily develop. An inability eat, play, or enjoy his toys can lead to a dog feeling very sorry for himself.
Some dental problems may be a result of genetic manipulation and breeding. Some miniature dogs, for example, may have tooth problems from birth due to having the same number of teeth as a large dog being crammed into their smaller jaws. Other dogs develop dental problems as they age. Whatever the cause, help your dog in the dental department by cleaning his teeth twice weekly and following some of these suggestions.
1. Accustom your dog to having his teeth cleaned early in life. Make the session a game and reward your dog with a tartar-control treat.
2. Two types of teeth-cleaning products exist that fit over the pet owner’s fingertips. One is a rubber device that is a little larger than a thimble with tiny rubber spikes on it. The other has an actual brush on it so that you can brush your dog’s teeth, using only toothpaste intended for dogs. The brush can be sterilized in a microwave after each use.
3. If you prefer to use an actual brush, use a soft toothbrush that is meant for a baby.
4. If your dog has a very small mouth, use a human eyebrow brush.
5. Try a little baking soda instead of pet toothpaste to clean your dog’s teeth. Caution: Human toothpaste is intended to be spit out and will make your dog sick if he swallows it.
6. An alternative way to clean your dog’s teeth is to rub them several times a week with a dampened washcloth. To make it more enjoyable for your dog, rub a little garlic on the cloth.
7. If your dog runs in the other direction when he sees you, whip out the toothbrush and paste, offer him treats or food products designed to remove plaque and prevent the buildup of tartar. Give him some hard, dry, crunchy food as a part of his normal diet to help clean plaque deposits. Manufacturers have developed foods and treats to reduce the amount of tartar and plaque. Most are available in grocery stores and supermarkets.
8. Discuss with your veterinarian about having your dog’s teeth cleaned professionally. Typically, teeth cleaning requires that your dog be anesthetized for the procedure.
9. If your dog has bad breath, it could signal the sign of disease. Have your dog checked by a veterinarian. To help reduce bad doggie breath, purchase products intended to make your dog’s breath smell better. These products are available at pet stores.
10. As an alternative way to improve your dog’s breath, mix three parts water to one part non mint liquid chlorophyll (available in health food stores) in a medicine bottle. Liquid chlorophyll is a natural deodorant. Give your dog one dropper full daily to fight bad breath from the inside.
Learn to care for your dog’s teeth, and you will help avoid any depression due to his oral hygiene.