Dental Care

Visiting your dentist should be a pretty high priority, and the dental health of your dog is just as important to his or her health. As well as expert canine dental help from veterinarians, owners of dogs can provide excellent dental care from home.

Why provide dental care for your dog?

Dental care for a dog is one of the most overlooked parts of pet health care. Studies from America indicate that pet owners do not provide dental care that vets consider essential. Oral disease is unfortunately very common amongst dogs above a certain age. As well as impacting on your dog's mouth, dental disease may also affect the heart, lungs or kidneys if left untreated for an extended period of time.

Can dogs get periodontal disease?

'Dog breath' as an expression is often down to the fact that many dogs do suffer from bad breath. Sometimes, this is down to a serious oral problem, so the sooner you have your dog checked out by a vet, the sooner any breath problems will go away.

Periodontal disease starts out as a mild infection of the tissue that surrounds the teeth. It takes hold of the mouth in progressive stages, starting out with a bacterial film known as plaque. When these bacteria die, they are calcified and become a hard, rough surface known as tartar. This in turn allows more plaque to accumulate, and it can lead to gingivitis (inflamed gums), reddened gums that bleed more easily. Infection can then spread to the root of the tooth. The latter stages can cause discomfort for your dog.

Periodontal disease can cause serious problems as it develops further. These include tissue destruction, erosion of tooth socket, and loose teeth. For dogs, who rely heavily on their teeth, this can be particularly damaging and distressful.

What kind of dental care do vets give to dogs?

You can typically expect vets to provide oral examinations and dental cleaning as routine dental care for dogs. This can start at the puppy stage for obvious early teeth problems, gum problems, oral swelling or other problems with oral development. As your dog grows up they should be examined for developmental anomalies, excess tartar, periodontal disease indicator, and oral tumours.

How often should dogs visit the vets?

Although this is at the discretion of the owner, dogs should visit the vet at least annually with oral health in mind. For large-breed dogs this can start after over a year, although some owners wish to take their puppies in to be examined.

What other oral care precautions can an owner take with their dog?

At the vets, there are a number of other procedures that can be used to examine and treat the teeth of your dog. These include dental radiographs to examine teeth in detail, scaling and polishing to remove plaque and tartar, and fluoride to control plaque and seal the teeth.

How can I care for my dog's teeth at home?

Caring for your dog's teeth doesn't only lie with a vet. Dog owners play an incredibly important role in ensuring that dental health is maintained through regular brushing. Ask your vet about how, when and how often you should brush your dog's teeth.

Healthy teeth can mean a healthier, happier dog. Proper dental care could add years to your dog's life.