As a dog owner, you’ve more than likely experienced one of those bad breath moments. Your cute pup comes in innocently to give you kisses and woah… assaults your nostrils. No big deal, you can brush it off because you love them unconditionally. But bad breath might be a sign of a deeper issue: dental health problems. Did you know that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of periodontal (gum) disease by the age of 3? (American Veterinary Medical Association) Keeping up on your pet’s dental health is crucial. If you don’t, dental problems can lead to bigger and more serious health issues.
Effects Of Poor Dental Health
If the periodontal disease goes untreated in your dog’s mouth, it will lead to bigger problems, starting with tooth loss and maybe even bone damage. The damage in the bone can be severe enough that even a small amount of pressure will fracture a small dog’s jaw. Untreated periodontal disease also puts your pup at a higher risk of gum, kidney, and liver disease. All of these problems and a lot of pain your dog might feel can be avoided with a consistent dental cleaning schedule.
Signs Your Pet Has Poor Dental Health
We discussed the bad breath, but there are some other signs to look out for that will tell you that your dog has poor dental health. These include:
- Loose or broken teeth
- Tartar build-up on teeth
- Teeth discoloration
- Trouble chewing
- Excess drooling or dropping food
- Reduced appetite
- Mouth pain or bleeding
- Swollen mouth
If you notice some of these, it’s time to take action! The sooner the better.
Keeping Your Dogs Teeth Clean
Keeping your dog’s teeth clean is pretty much the same as keeping your own teeth clean. Pet toothbrushes and toothpaste are available at most pet stores. Opt for a chicken, beef, etc flavored toothpaste to help entice your dog. Do not use human toothpaste, as common ingredients in it can be toxic for pets. Take it slow when you introduce them to these new products. Leave them out so they can smell and taste them.
Regular brushing is the most effective solution, but there are some alternatives if you are unable to make it a routine practice. As you probably know, there are many dental health treats and chews that can help you keep your dog’s teeth clean. The simple act of chewing can reduce tartar by up to 70%. Most of these types of chews are coated in polyphosphate, which also helps to reduce tartar, and they are uniquely shaped to help get into those hard-to-reach areas. For a vet-approved list of these types of treats, click here.
Take a minute to assess your dog’s dental health and take the necessary steps to clean their teeth and keep them clean. Your dog will thank you for alleviating the pain and preventing bigger health issues down the road.