August is Dental Care Month for Dogs and we started thinking about our own dog Gus and what more we could do to improve his dental health. Throughout our research we had no idea of the importance a dog’s dental health plays on the overall health of a dog. We always considered dental health to be important but realised we could be doing a lot more to improve Gus’s dental health.
What is periodontal disease?
It is estimated that around 2/3 of adult dogs over the age of 3 have some level of periodontal disease. When a dog develops periodontal disease, you may notice inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding the teeth. Plaque build-up causes gingivitis and can progress to involve the bony sockets of the affected tooth or teeth. Leaving this untreated can lead to painful tooth loss. Having poor dental health can also lead to other impacts on a dog’s body like heart disease, liver disease and kidney disease.
Understanding the impact of periodontal disease on Gus’s dental health we searched for easy and impactful ways to improve his dental health. Hopefully these suggestions we are going to share with you will also prove effective and easy for you to try with your dog.
1)Brushing your Dog’s Teeth
While we don’t really think too much about brushing our teeth twice daily, did you know brushing your dog’s teeth twice daily is recommended. We were kind of surprised when we read this. It had never crossed our mind that brushing Gus’s teeth twice daily was the gold standard.
It is recommended that you start brushing your dog’s teeth as a puppy and keeping it up will become a part of your dog’s daily routine and more readily accepted. If you’re like us though and haven’t brushed your dog’s teeth it may take some encouragement and lots of patience for your dog to accept having their teeth brushed. Even with patience and the best intentions your dog may simply not accept their teeth being brushed.
It is important to note, DO NOT USEhuman toothpaste on your dog. Specially formulated toothpastes have been designed for your dog. Also available are toothbrushes designed for your dog or you could use a toddler toothbrush as well. Ensure your dog’s toothbrush is kept separate from yours to avoid any mix up.
Another great way to help slow the progression of gum disease in your dog is by using approved mouth rinses. The dental rinses contain chlorhexidine or other additives that help kill and reduce bacteria in your dog’s mouth. Consult with your dog’s vet to see if this would be useful in helping improve your dog’s overall dental health.
3)Dental Bones, Chews and Biscuits
Using a combination of dental bones, chews and biscuits are a great way to improve your dog’s dental health. Dental chews like WHIMZEES® can be a great tool to help improve dental health in your dog. It is important to note that not all dental chews are created equally, and you should look for dental chews that carries a VOHC seal of acceptance for plaque and tartar reduction. These products have been studied and confirm the effectiveness of their products.
There are also dog food formulations that help reduce plaque and tartar. This is achieved in a variety of ways, using a larger kibble in some or others way use a texture that resists crumbling, which creates a scrubbing action. Others dog food formulations have a special coating that helps prevent bacteria, reduce plaque, or it can discourage the formation of tartar on your dog’s teeth.
4) Chews Toys and Treat balls
Although not edible, dog chew toys like Kong® toys and treat balls can be another great option to help prevent tartar and plaque build-up. Rubber nodules and ridges on these types of dog toys gently massage your dog’s teeth helping to prevent plaque and tartar build up. You can rotate a variety of different dental toys to keep things interesting for your pooch while helping to maintain critical oral health.
5)Annual Vet Visit
Finally, it is always a good idea for your dog to have an annual vet visit to assess your dog’s general health as well as dental check-up and examination. During the visit your vet will assess your dog’s teeth, gums and make recommendations according to their examination findings.
*A quick disclaimer, we are not health professionals and always recommend you speak with your Veterinarian regarding any oral/dental issues that may be concerning you regarding your dog.