Dogs can't tell us it is time to brush their teeth so we need to know the signs that our dog needs a cleaning. In this blog, our Sacramento vets discuss the importance of dog dental care and what the signs are that your dog needs a cleaning.
Dog Dental Care
The oral health of dogs plays an essential part in their overall physical health and wellbeing because a lack of routine dental care for our pets can lead to painful teeth and gums as well as various dental conditions such as tooth decay and periodontal disease. This makes it integral for you to provide your dog with routine dental care, which includes both at-home teeth brushing and professional dental exams and hygiene cleanings at your Sacramento vet's office.
At-Home Dental Care for Dogs
Brushing your dog's teeth at home ideally once a day between their dental appointments is the best way to prevent the build-up of harmful plaque and bacteria in their mouths. It also provides you with the opportunity to identify any developing symptoms of a dental condition such as yellow teeth, bad breath, red swollen gums, or even bleeding in the mouth.
When you go to brush your dog's teeth make sure they are in a calm state. If this is your first time brushing your pet's teeth you probably won't be able to give them a full brushing session.
The first several times you try brushing your dog's teeth start by massaging their gums and teeth in small circular motions to get them used to the feeling of being touched in their mouths and work your way up to a minute. Then you can introduce the toothpaste. There is special toothpaste made specifically for dogs that come in flavors they will love such as chicken or beef. Start by letting them lick a bit of the toothpaste off of your finger rewarding them with treats and pets in between sessions.
When your pet is used to the toothpaste you can introduce the toothbrush by letting them lick a bit of the dog toothpaste off of the brush. After a few days, you can gradually start brushing your dog's teeth normally.
Brush their teeth in the same small circular motion as you did for the massages, it may take several tries before your dog will let you fully brush their teeth, so it's okay if you only get a couple of teeth done at first, just keep trying.
If it's too hard to brush your dog's teeth there are several alternative options available such as a food and water additive, as well as dental chews for dogs. Your veterinarian will be able to provide you with guidance on the dental care routines or products that will work best for your pet.
When to get your dog's teeth cleaned
There are signs that your dog is in need of a teeth cleaning, and if you notice these things you should start a daily teeth cleaning routine right away. They are;
- Bad breath
- Loose, broken or badly decayed teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Brown or yellow teeth
- Obvious signs of tartar buildup
- Abnormal drooling
- Chewing, or dropping food from their mouth
- Reduced appetite
- Dropping food from their mouth while eating
- Pain in or around the mouth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Swelling in the areas around the mouth
- Lack of energy
- Weight Loss
- Short temper
- Reluctance to play
- Signs of a dental problem in your dog
Does my dog need a professional cleaning?
Dogs require professional dental care. At-home brushing and dental care can't replace professional dental exams and cleanings at your veterinarian's office.
You should bring your dog to see their vet for a dental exam and cleaning at least once a year. Veterinarians are highly trained and qualified to get your pet's mouth as clean as possible as well as to identify any arising dental conditions early such as plaque build-up or periodontal disease. When these serious dental conditions are caught in their earliest stages they are easier and more affordable to treat.
In every dental cleaning, your vet will also apply a dental sealant that will help prevent plaque from attaching to your pet's tooth enamel.