Pet Dental Health month comes just once a year but keeping your dog’s mouth healthy is important all year round. Here are tips to help.
1. Make it a priority. Dental disease is very common. In fact, a 2016 report from Banfield Pet Hospital found that health issues like inflammation, tartar, gingivitis and periodontal disease affect 76% of dogs. Just like with people, these issues can set the stage for serious health issues, so make dental care a priority.
2. Keep teeth in mind. All of the following can be a warning sign: bad breath, inflamed gums, refusing food, pain around the mouth, discolored teeth, trouble chewing or broken or loose teeth. Take your dog to the vet right away if you see any of these issues.
3. Schedule regular check-ups. Like people, dogs need semi-annual dental exams and annual cleaning. Neglecting dental needs can result in more serious problems, like bone infections and health issues. Get regular exams on the calendar based on the frequency your vet suggests for your dog.
4. Brush those pearly whites. Brush dogs’ teeth on a regular basis – aim for at least two to three times per week. The American Veterinary Medical Association says it’s the single most effective thing you can do to keep teeth healthy between dental cleanings. Get a toothbrush made especially for dogs and sized to fit your dog’s mouth. Also, be sure to use a dog toothpaste – never use human toothpaste, since some ingredients in it might be irritating or even unhealthy for dogs.
5. Treats can help. Certain dog treats are designed to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. Making them part of your treating or training routine can have the added benefit of promoting dental health.
Here are more resources for dog dental health:
- WebMD: Tips for Dental Health
- Banfield® Pet Hospital: Dental Care Resources
- AVMA: Pet Dental Care Overview
- Video: How to Check for Signs of Dental Disease
See a tip you like? Please share! And if you’ve learned something that helps you and your dog, please donate so we can help more dogs get a loving home like yours.