The right dental care for your dog
Tips & Tricks
Dental health has a real impact on your overall health. And it’s no different for your pet. For example, just as with humans, bacteria that enters a dog’s bloodstream through the root of the tooth can cause inflammation in other parts of the body. Good oral hygiene, which includes proper dental care, is a must in your pup’s healthy routine. After all, prevention is the best medicine. But how can you help your four-legged friend maintain a healthy mouth?
A dog's teeth - what you should know
Dogs have a total of 42 teeth - 20 on the upper and 22 on the lower jaw. Their teeth are designed to grasp and cut food - after all, dogs are carnivores. A so-called scissor bite is typical in most dogs –meaning the teeth of the upper jaw are set slightly in front of the lower jaw when the mouth is closed.
From about 4 months of age, a puppy’s teeth will start to change. Just as with humans, a puppy’s milk teeth will fall out and be replaced by permanent adult teeth. During this time, chewing harder toys as well as rough tugging games should be avoided. Generally speaking, most pups will have completed their transition to adult teeth by 7 months of age.
Healthy teeth are, of course, the basis for food intake and the general physical health of an animal. That’s why proper dental care should begin in puppyhood - including regular examinations at the vet’s office.
How do gum problems develop?
Gum problems in dogs have different causes. Common types of plaque are caused by food residue that accumulates between the teeth and the accumulation of bacteria. In combination with the minerals in the saliva, tartar can form, which can only be removed by a vet. Choosing the right dry kibble can have an influence in effectively managing plaque formation. Without good oral hygiene, your dog can develop gingivitis. More germs form, which can lead to receding gums and can even negatively affect the jawbone. In some cases, development of periodontitis can lead to bone and tooth loss.
There are some early signs of disease in the tooth (or gum) to look out for. One distinctive symptom can be a strong mouth odour. Other symptoms include yellowish to brownish discolouration of the teeth, red and/or swollen gums and bleeding. Another clear warning sign: your dog shows hesitancy at the feeding bowl and refuses to eat within the usual feeding routine. Understandably, this may be a sign that your dog’s dental problems are advanced and are likely causing pain.
3 Tips for proper dental care for your dog
Fixed tartar can only be removed by a vet. However, you as a dog owner can also tackle soft plaque as a way to prevent serious gum problems. Dental care should become a daily routine. If the above-mentioned symptoms appear, a visit to the vet’s office is urgently necessary.
1. Dental care through chews and food
When choosing food for your dog, you should make sure that the animal has something abrasive to bite on (ie. dry kibbles) because this will help clean the teeth through very action of chewing. Look carefully at the shape of your dog’s kibble – a form with edges and angles is ideal.
Chew bones or chew strips can contribute significantly to dental health in dogs - intensive cleaning of the tooth surface, which the four-legged friend enjoys. It is important to choose a snack with the right shape and function. The products from Delights pro Dental are particularly suitable. They are made of rawhide and enriched with cleansing minerals. Last but not least, a few tips regarding bones: dogs should never be given poultry or pork bones to eat. They splinter when cooked. Pork bones should also not be fed raw, as this can transmit certain diseases. You should also avoid bones that carry weight, such as beef bones, or antler pieces offered in the shops, as these are too hard for the dog's teeth. They often carry the risk of microfractures in the tooth, which are sometimes only noticed late and often result in the loss of the tooth.
Basically, bones also carry the risk of getting stuck in the dog's oesophagus, stomach or intestines. In addition, there is the risk of injury from bone fragments. Feeding bones can also lead to blockages, some of which can be so severe that they can only be remedied by surgery. Extreme caution is therefore required when it comes to bones.
2. Natural dental care for dogs
The be-all and end-all in terms of natural dental care is, as already mentioned, intensive chewing. This leads your pup to salivate, which leads to the dilution of tartar-forming minerals and ultimately helps prevent tartar build-up. If you choose the right food and regularly offer your pet safe, long-lasting chews, you are laying the foundations for good dental health.
Of course, brushing your dog’s teeth is also a great way to clean them! To this end, the market offers toothpaste for dogs - the use of toothpaste for humans, however, is not healthy for your pet. Tooth brushing will be much easier if you get your dog used to brushing his teeth when he is still a puppy.
And finally, your dog's teeth can also be cleaned by chewing toys. Depending on the design, the teeth and the spaces between the teeth can be cleaned. They also massage the gums.
3. Regular veterinary check-ups
None of these tips should replace regular visits to the vet. Regular veterinary check-ups help to detect and treat potential problems at an early stage. If you notice symptoms such as bad breath, loss of appetite or discolouration of your pet's teeth, don't delay going to the vet. Remember that your pet could be suffering from pain and prevent time-consuming and costly dental operations.