September 25, 2017

Why Pet Owners Should Understand The Importance Of Dog Dental Care

Share on TwitterSubmit to StumbleUponDigg This

Pet owners will go out of their way to make sure their furry friends are well cared for and have everything they need to live a long, happy life. Yet, sometimes even the most conscientious owners will fail to realize the importance of dog dental care and its relationship to their pet’s overall well-being. When it comes to keeping a pet healthy, dental hygiene is just as critical as diet and exercise.

It helps to get into a routine of inspecting teeth on a regular basis. Cup the animal’s chin in one hand and gently lift up the lips to expose the gum line. Carefully inspect all teeth and look for swollen gums and broken or missing teeth. If a problem is suspected, take the animal to a qualified veterinarian. Dental disease will get progressively worse so catching a problem early will save the animal from needless suffering and keep the damage to a minimum.

Every breed is different. Some are more prone to dental problems than others. Smaller breeds tend to have worse teeth than larger breeds. This is because the mouth is so small and crowded which interferes with the usual natural methods of plaque removal.

Chewing on a bone will naturally remove plaque but most dental problems can be avoided with regular brushing. Dogs should be acclimated to having the teeth brushed by the age of 6 months. By that time, all the adult teeth are grown in. Brushing at least twice a week will remove this plaque before it has a chance to harden into tartar.

Never use human toothpaste on a dog’s teeth. Special toothpaste formulated for animals is available at any pet supply store. This special formula is safe for them to swallow unlike regular toothpaste which can be harmful.

The pet store will also have toothbrushes with long handles designed to make brushing teeth easier. A finger brush is another popular tool. This device has soft plastic bristles and fits over the end of the finger. Dental wipes are even easier to use. These soft cloths come moistened with cleaning formula. Wrap the cloth around the finger and use a circular motion to massage inside the mouth under the gum line.

Some studies suggest that hard food is slightly more effective than wet foods for removing plaque. A diet high in muscle or organ meat can actually be harmful to teeth because of the high levels of phosphorus. Calcium is drawn from the teeth to balance the phosphorus and this makes them weak. Knucklebones and oxtails are a better choice because the pet gets calcium along with the meat.

Regular vet exams are necessary for overall health. A vet will check the teeth as part of any routine exam. Sometimes the vet will recommend a professional cleaning to remove stubborn tartar. This is an outpatient procedure but requires the animal be put under general anesthesia. Some dogs will require this kind of cleaning up to twice per year.

When the tartar builds up, the gums become swollen and recede from the teeth. This condition is called gingivitis. The teeth may loosen up and fall out. Missing teeth affect the dog’s ability to consume and digest food properly. Symptoms include weight loss, bleeding gums and loss of appetite.

A bacterial infection that is not treated can spread to the jawbone. The animal may have swelling underneath the eyes and appear to be in pain when moving the jaws. Severe cases may be referred to a dental specialist for further diagnosis and treatment. Tooth extraction is sometimes necessary.

Poor dental hygiene obviously affects teeth in a negative way but the problems can go far beyond just missing teeth and bleeding gums. Healthy gums form a barrier between bacteria and the rest of the body. When the gums are compromised, bacteria in the mouth may travel to other parts of the body and infect the joints, kidneys, intestines and heart.

Everyone jokes about bad breath but a persistent case can be a sign of a serious health problem. In addition to periodontal disease and gingivitis, bad breath can signal gastrointestinal disease, respiratory problems and even diabetes. It is necessary to determine the cause for proper treatment.

All pet owners need to understand the importance of dog dental care. Proper oral hygiene should begin at an early age to get the animal accustomed to having the teeth cleaned. A few minutes spent each week on cleaning the teeth will help prevent much more serious health problems in the future.

Share on TwitterSubmit to StumbleUponDigg This
URL.biz - Dogs