August is Pet Dental Month

Posted: 8/1/2012

Everyone loves a friendly greeting from their dog when they get home at the end of the day. However, the affection and attention can sometimes be ruined by a noseful of bad dog breath.

Imagine what your teeth and breath would be like if you never brushed! Just as people can suffer from dental disease and halitosis (bad breath), so can dogs. They can suffer from cavities, plaque build up and tartar, to name a few complications. These issues tend to occur when protein builds up and coats the teeth. Over time, this protein hardens on the teeth and becomes mineralized, which causes the teeth to become rotten. This is also when bad breath and gum disease can occur.

It is important to check your dog's teeth regularly and follow precautions to prevent any tooth decay.

How to check your dog's teeth

When your dog is in a calm, relaxed mood, lift their lips to view their teeth. The teeth should be a uniform white color. If there are broken teeth or brown spots near the tips of the teeth, you may need to see your vet. The brown spots could be exposed cavities. The gums should be pink, not red or white, and they should show no signs of swelling.

Prevention is always easier than curing, so here are so helpful tips to keep your dog's teeth and gums healthy.

Brush regularly

Your dog will likely not be too happy the first time you try to brush his or her teeth. Get your dog comfortable by first just massaging its gums for 60 seconds every day for a week. Once they are used to that and comfortable with you touching their lips and gums, purchase a special canine tooth-brushing kit. You can also create your own toothpaste out of baking soda and water and use clean gauze as a brush. Never use human toothbrushes or toothpaste on your pet, as these can be harmful. Sometimes you can even find a rubber toothbrush that fits over your pointer finger that can be used for a thorough, gentle brushing.

Brush your dog's teeth in a circular motion, while applying light pressure. Use downward strokes on the sides of the teeth that touch your dog's cheeks, as this is where the most tartar builds up. Try to brush the inside of your dog's teeth. If he or she resists, do not force it; only small amounts of tartar build up there.

Once you get the hang of brushing, make it a routine to brush your dog's teeth at least twice a week.

Chew on this

Chew toys can be good for dogs' dental health as it can strengthen teeth, massage gums and scrape away light tartar build up.

Food for thought

Avoid feeding your dog table scraps. Instead, feed your dog food and treats that are specially formulated for dental health.

Keeping your dog's teeth clean and healthy is beneficial to your dog's overall health and happiness.