Dental problems in dogs are more common than people think. Although veterinarians advise dog owners to clean their teeth, only a small number of owners actually use that advice. In addition, research has shown that 80% of dogs older than three years have dental problems, while only 23% of dog owners indicate this. Dental care is not only necessary for people, but also for your pet. In addition to trauma (breaking off teeth), plaque and tartar cause many dental problems in pet animals. Good Dental care in dogs prevents serious problems for your animal.
Dental problems in young dogs
It is a minority, but sometimes puppies or young dogs with dental problems come to the vet. The most common conditions in this group of dogs are dental fractures (usually caused by turbulence) and an incorrect position of one or more teeth. If this leads to or will lead to clinical complaints, treatment will be instituted.
Dental plaque and tartar
In most cases, dental problems in dogs begin with plaque and later tartar. Dental plaque is a barely visible layer that constantly forms on the teeth. It consists of food waste, mucus and bacteria. Plaque can be removed relatively easily. Under the influence of various minerals and the pH value of the saliva, plaque can calcify to tartar. This is, as the name suggests, very hard and cannot be removed by brushing. Bacteria subsequently accumulate, eventually leading to gum infections and further dental problems.
As your pet ages, so too does the chance of developing dental problems. Neglected dental problems cause pain and can have serious consequences for your pet’s health. The animal develops complaints that can vary from bad breath, inflamed gums, and exposed tooth roots to lose teeth and loss of teeth. Even more serious is that the overall health of your animal can be endangered by dental problems: severely neglected dental problems can lead to inflammation in vital organs – with all its consequences.
Nowadays there are many possibilities within veterinary dentistry, also in this discipline there are specialized veterinarians. Sometimes it may be necessary to use additional diagnostics, such as a special dog denture x-ray machine. Treatments can range from installing braces and crowns to root canal treatments and extractions. The main reason for such therapies is, of course, the well-being of your dog. As many people will agree, toothaches are not pleasant to live with!
Of course prevention is always better than cure! Preventive brushing is the best way to clean the teeth. Fortunately, if this is not possible, there are good alternatives.
Teeth Brushing teeth is usually quite easy to learn in puppies and young dogs. This can be a bit more difficult with older dogs, sometimes it just does not work. Toothbrushes specially developed for dogs are available. For smaller dogs, these can be quite large, so a finger toothbrush or gauze is a good alternative. It is important to use only dog toothpaste. Toothpaste for humans is not suitable due to its composition. In addition, it has a dog toothpastea meat flavor, which makes learning and cleaning easier. The dog’s mouth does not have to be fully opened for brushing. In most cases, it is enough to lift the lips and then clean all visible parts on the outside of the teeth. Do not forget about the inside, chewing surfaces, and back teeth. It is recommended to brush the teeth at least 2x / week but daily is also allowed.
Note: It is important not to start brushing when dogs already have dental problems or have recently had dental treatment. At that point, brushing can be painful and dogs can develop an aversion to it.
When it is not possible to actively brush the teeth, there are several alternatives. For example, a tasty, adhesive toothpaste can be used. This is placed in the oral cavity on the cheek side before the cheeks are massaged on the outside. In this way, plaque can be removed and saliva production is also stimulated.
A special diet has been developed to maintain healthy teeth. Such chunks are quite large and have an adapted structure, whereby teeth are mechanically cleaned during chewing. The lump does not crumble immediately and scrapes along with the tooth, as it were. In addition, the composition is such that minerals, such as calcium, are not available for the formation of tartar.
Special dental care chews can help to clean the teeth. In this way, the useful is combined with the pleasant. Even for dogs with food allergies, there are suitable chew products! It is important to keep an eye on the dog’s weight and to adjust the amount of food on days when you give chew products. A dog with beautiful teeth and obesity is not an ideal situation! Dental care in dogs.
Additions to food and drinking water
To prevent bacteria and bad mouth odor, you can also choose to add a supplement to the drinking water or food. Liquids often contain chlorhexidine, the supplements that can be added with food are usually based on algae.
Other oral care
Various toys have been developed to ensure that the teeth are mechanically cleaned during play. Such toys can optionally be combined with toothpaste
How do you notice that your dog has a dental problem?
Bad smell is not normal!
It is a persistent misunderstanding that it is normal for a dog to have bad breath. In many cases, this is an indication of a dental problem. It is therefore important to take care of your pet’s teeth daily and to have them checked regularly. Dental care in dogs.
A good appetite does not mean that there are no problems!
The argument is often made that the animal is still eating well and that there can, therefore, be no complaints. This is absolutely wrong! When an animal suffers from inflamed gums or some bad molars, it will continue to eat in order to survive. In that case, the animal does indeed have pain complaints, but this is often not noticeable to the owner. In fact, dogs with very bad, rotten, and loose teeth appear to eat normally. Dental care in dogs.
When in doubt, it is always wise to contact your vet, who can check your dog’s teeth and indicate what your dog needs.