Our dogs are a frequent topic here in the office. We share laughs, lessons, and, of course, love for these amazing creatures. Because we adore them so much, we want our dogs to live happy and healthy lives. And we’ve come to learn that their oral health can have a lot to do with that.
Your dog’s dental health is an important part of your pet’s overall health. Sounds familiar, right? Just like humans, healthy teeth and gums mean a healthier dog and a longer life. We emphasize the importance oral health has on overall health, and it’s the same for our four-legged family members. For National Dog Day, we’re going to celebrate our dogs by continuing our message and include our dogs!
Oral health problems for dogs
Like humans, dogs can have similar dental problems like gingivitis and periodontal disease. It’s imperative to keep teeth and gums strong and healthy because dental issues can lead to other health problems. Another similarity, early detection and treatment can be critical. We get our teeth checked twice a year; with your dog’s annual visit to the vet, teeth and gums will (or should) be checked. You can monitor your dog’s teeth between these visits by looking for plaque buildup and swollen gums.
How to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy
Brushing your dog’s teeth might seem impossible, but with some effort, it can pay off in the long run. Struggling with the task of keeping our dog’s teeth clean is a topic I’ve discussed with my co-workers. And I’ll admit, none of us have taken on the challenge of brushing. Some of us have adopted older dogs, so we’ve had to take our dogs to the vet for a cleaning which involves anesthesia. I recently rescued a younger dog, so it’s possible to start a routine of brushing to prevent the need for a dental procedure in the future. It might take some getting used to, for me and my dog, but with time, patience and training, it could turn into a habit. According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, brushing your dog’s teeth regularly is the most effective way to keep them healthy and may reduce or even eliminate the need for a dental cleaning at the vet.
If you decide to take on the challenge of brushing your dog’s teeth, consult with your vet. There is special toothpaste for dogs because human toothpaste is toxic for them. There are also specially designed toothbrushes. But if you can’t manage brushing your dog’s teeth, there are other things you can do.
Chew toys – I’m lucky that my dog enjoys chewing on toys and sticks. When I see her chewing on her favorite rubber toy, I’m thankful it could be helping her teeth. Some toys are designed to strengthen gums and teeth. When a dog chews or gnaws on a toy, it can scrape off buildup on their teeth.
Dental treats – There are lots of options out there. My vet sells a great brand of dental chews. They’re similar to raw hides, but they have special ingredients that fight and breakdown the plaque on teeth. Dental treats can also help with freshening breath, but be aware, severe bad breath can be a sign of dental problems.
Tooth wipes – A great option and alternative to brushing, dog tooth wipes are used to rub against the teeth and remove plaque.
Dry food – I used to think of soft food as a special treat for dogs, but it’s not good for their teeth. Soft food can stick to teeth, create buildup and lead to tooth decay.
Happy to celebrate
National Dog Day celebrates all dogs and encourages rescue and adoption from shelters. The day brings attention to the many roles dogs have in our lives. We’re happy to celebrate this day and message with you all, while also relating it to the message of making oral health an important part of your overall health. Take care of your smile and your pet’s!
Always consult with your veterinarian about what is best for your dog. For further information and resources: