Home dental care in dogs
“Fido, it’s time for bed. Now go to the bathroom and brush your teeth.” Wouldn’t it be nice if that was all we had to say about home dental care in dogs? But unless you have the smartest dog in the universe (and we know you have), chances are that dental care for you pet falls squarely upon you.
Why dental care in dogs is needed
Since our dogs are living longer than ever, taking care of their teeth has become very important. Since they do not brush every day, the plaque that builds up from bacteria in the mouth doesn’t magically disappear. As plaque sets up on the teeth, it calcifies over time and we get tartar or calculus. That in turn leads to all kinds of problems like bad breath, gum disease, periodontal disease, early tooth loss, and even infections in other parts of the body. In general it means a lower quality of life for your beloved pet.
Steps to take to keep their teeth strong
So what can we do to prevent all that? There are several steps we can take now to improve dental health for Fido. The very best is still brushing the teeth daily (or nearly daily). Kits are available here at the clinic that has doggy toothpaste and brushes or little finger cots. And the good news is that only the outside of the teeth need to be brushed as that is where plaque and calculus builds up the most.
But Fido won’t let you brush his teeth? You’re not alone. Only about 3% of our clientele are able to brush their dogs’ teeth. But there are alternatives. There are liquids or gels that can be applied to gums daily like OraZinc gel that help reduce bacteria. Then there are numerous treats that have been approved to help reduce bacteria in the mouth. Greenies are a popular choice. Also, we carry a leather chew that has special ingredients in it to reduce plaque and bacteria called CET chews. Dogs love ‘em. Whatever treat you choose, it needs to have the approval of the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) on the package. This means that the product has been tested and found useful in fighting plaque, not just being a tasty treat for your pet.
So by providing home dental care for your dog, not only can you reduce how often your pet has to have a dental cleaning here in our hospital, but you also reduce the risk of serious health issues that can come from those nasty teeth.
Further questions? Call us at the Rannals Small Animal Hospital at 903-839-7235.