How to Care for Dog's Teeth.
|How to Care for Dog's Teeth.
How do I care for my dog's teeth?
To prevent food residues in your dog's mouth from causing damage, the teeth and gums should be regularly brushed. Grains and sugar in commercial pet food, both dry and wet, can cause dental problems in dogs, making proper dental care essential. However, even when providing sugar- and grain-free food, dental care should not be neglected.
You can clean your dog's teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically designed for dogs, maintaining oral hygiene and health. Additionally, there are alternative and complementary dental care options.
What dental diseases can dogs get?
The type of diet and inadequate dental care can result in various dental diseases in dogs. Dental calculus, especially, is widespread in dogs.
Periodontal disease and caries can also occur. However, a healthy and strong set of teeth in dogs not only helps prevent such complications in teeth and gums but also contributes to overall health.
On the one hand, a dog with a healthy set of teeth can chew food effectively, allowing for the proper absorption of essential nutrients and reducing the strain on the digestive system. On the other hand, dental problems, such as inflammations, can lead to serious health issues elsewhere in the body.
Tartar and Periodontal Disease:
Tartar can form when food residues linger on the tooth. These residues create an ideal breeding ground for bacteria to multiply. As a result, dental plaques develop, leading to both bad breath and, on the other hand, gum inflammation (gingivitis). These inflammatory processes can damage not only the gums but also the tooth.
Consequently, periodontal disease can occur due to tartar. Characteristic of this condition is the formation of pockets, the receding of the gums, and, during the process, the exposure of tooth necks and roots. The inflammation can progress to the jawbone, causing extensive damage. As a consequence, the dog may lose a tooth.
On the other hand, inflammatory processes in the body should not be underestimated. The bacteria responsible for the inflammation can lead to other conditions, such as skin and joint diseases, changes in heart valves, or kidney problems.
Your dog can also be affected by caries. Although four-legged animals suffer significantly less from caries due to the unique structure of their dentition compared to humans, dog teeth can still be damaged by it. In dogs, teeth are sharper, and the spaces between them are larger. However, if caries is present, it can initially cause cavities and tooth pain, progressing to jawbone and tooth canal inflammation or abscesses.
Should one always brush a dog's teeth?
Residue from daily nutrition can get stuck between the teeth. If not removed, this can lead to dental and gum diseases.
Generally, it is recommended to brush a dog's teeth every one to two days. It is sufficient to perform dental cleaning once a day.
The frequency of brushing a dog's teeth also depends on its diet and individual care needs. Feeding high-quality dog food reduces the risk of cavities, periodontitis, and other dental diseases.
Regular cleaning helps thoroughly remove any residue and existing plaque before complications arise. In general, brushing a dog's teeth is advisable in addition to providing the animal with a suitable diet.
Here's how to brush a dog's teeth effectively:
- Brushing a dog's teeth is not as difficult as some may think.
- It's important to allocate sufficient time for both you and your dog.
- If you have never brushed your dog's teeth before, gradually introduce them to the process step by step.
- Most dogs may not patiently participate in the brushing process right from the first time.
- It's easier to accustom a puppy to brushing, but with calmness and patience, even older dogs can tolerate having a toothbrush in their mouths.
Introducing the Dog to Toothbrush and Toothpaste:
Before you can thoroughly clean your dog's teeth, you should get accustomed to the toothbrush and the unique taste and smell of the toothpaste. To do this, put a small amount of toothpaste on your finger and let your dog lick it off. If your dog allows it, you can then apply the toothpaste to the teeth and gums.
Familiarizing your dog with the toothbrush can be done by letting them lick it. However, be cautious to ensure that your dog doesn't mistake the toothbrush for a chew toy.
Brushing a Dog's Teeth:
Once your dog is accustomed to the toothbrush and toothpaste, you can slowly start brushing its teeth. Usually, dogs adapt to the new process within a few weeks.
The best way to brush a dog's teeth is to work slowly from the large canine teeth towards the back and finish by brushing the incisors since the incisors are particularly sensitive in dogs.
- To brush the teeth, simply apply some toothpaste to the brush and gently place your hand around the snout, allowing you to lift the lips slightly. This can be done gently with the thumb and index finger.
- Next, you can angle the toothbrush against the gumline.
- Brush from the gumline toward the tip of the tooth.
- Once a tooth is brushed, move the toothbrush in circular motions to the next tooth.
- Don't forget to brush the other side as well as the surfaces of the teeth.
- Finally, you can place the toothbrush against the incisors.
Toothbrush and Toothpaste for Dogs:
The use of human toothbrushes and toothpaste should be avoided.
Normal toothbrushes are often too hard, potentially causing damage to the sensitive gums.
Human toothpaste is also unsuitable, as the ingredients can be not only unpleasant but also harmful for dogs.
It should be soft to avoid injuring the sensitive gums. At the same time, the material should be robust enough to withstand accidental chewing without breaking, preventing the dog from swallowing parts of it. To easily clean the entire set of teeth, the brush handle should be appropriately long. The handle, for example, sits securely in the hand through a rubberized surface. Some models of dog toothbrushes are offered as double-headed brushes, typically equipped with a small and slightly larger brush head, allowing for the cleaning of both front and back teeth. An alternative is snap-on toothbrushes that fit on the fingers, enabling the cleaning of sensitive areas with improved pressure distribution.
Dog toothpaste often contains ingredients such as zinc gluconate, chlorhexidine, or hexametaphosphates. For dogs with known gum diseases, additives like fluoride are used. Dog toothpaste comes not only with different active ingredients but also in various flavors, as ultimately, your dog's taste preference determines whether it accepts the toothpaste or not.
Homemade Dog Toothpaste:
You can easily make dog toothpaste with minimal effort. Various substances can be used for this purpose. Here is an example of a recipe for homemade dog toothpaste:
To prepare, heat a cup of coconut oil, preferably in a gentle hot water bath. Once the oil has a smooth consistency, it can be further processed.
Add ½ teaspoon of turmeric, 1/8 teaspoon of dried parsley flakes, and ½ teaspoon of seaweed, mixing everything until a smooth and easy-to-use consistency is achieved.
- Coconut oil: Combats bad breath, and acts as an antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal.
- Turmeric: Combats plaque formation and has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Dried parsley flakes: Act as antibacterial agents and contain valuable minerals and vitamins.
- Seaweed: Removes plaque and contains minerals and chlorophyll.
After preparation, store the dog toothpaste in the refrigerator. To use, take the required amount of toothpaste and gently warm it in a water bath. Avoid boiling or heating it in the microwave, as this can destroy valuable nutrients and enzymes.
Alternative and Complementary Dental Care:
Regular tooth brushing remains the most effective means to maintain a dog's dental health. Additionally, various dental care products are available in the market, usually intended for supplementary dental care:
- Eliminates bacteria in the mouth – Mouthwash for dogs
- Dental Care Gel: Designed as an alternative to brushing for dogs that resist tooth brushing. Dental care gels are expected to counteract tartar and plaque simply by applying them to the teeth.
- Mouth rinses: Used as supplementary dental care, added to drinking water. They are intended to have a disinfectant effect.
- Chew Sticks: Offered in various forms, chew sticks are meant for dental care. However, their effectiveness is debated. To contribute to plaque abrasion, they should be sufficiently large and hard. Too small or soft, they may not have the desired effect, and residues might even get stuck in the interdental spaces.
- Buffalo Hide Bones: Chew bones made from buffalo hide are hard and are supposed to aid in rubbing off plaque during chewing.
- Chew Ball: Chewing toys like chew balls aim to abrade plaque through the chewing of hard materials in combination with a special surface structure. However, caution should be exercised to ensure that the dog cannot swallow them.
- Kong: Special dog toys made from durable natural rubber. They are also offered for dental care. Dental sticks and other variations are designed for targeted teeth cleaning and gum massage. Additionally, dental care products like toothpaste can be applied to the crevices, allowing the dog to ingest them while chewing.
- Toothbrush Fingerling: Toothbrush fingerlings are easily fitted over a finger. The brush on the finger allows for easy access to the teeth, increasing acceptance by the dog. They are available in different materials effective for removing plaque.
- Food Supplements: Supplements for the oral and dental hygiene of dogs are available. They are simply added to regular food and work in various ways to counteract plaque formation. For example, they may alter the pH level in the mouth or contain specific enzymes.
- Bones: Chewing on lamb, beef, or veal bones can also contribute to teeth cleaning. The hardness promotes abrasion. However, they are only suitable for occasional use, and not all types of bones should be given to dogs, as hard marrow bones or poultry bones can be harmful.
Signs of Healthy Dog Teeth:
A healthy dog's teeth are particularly crucial for our four-legged friends' survival, as they need to be able to chew their food well into old age. Dogs are initially born without teeth, and the first teeth start to emerge at around three to six weeks of age. A puppy initially has 28 milk teeth.
With approximately four to seven months, permanent teeth develop, and the milk teeth disappear. Typically, a dog has 42 teeth. These teeth should be bright and free from injuries, discoloration, or deposits.
Healthy gums are characterized by a delicate pink color and a robust appearance. When pressed with a finger, the area should become lighter.
In conclusion, similar to humans, a healthy diet combined with regular dental hygiene is essential for a dog's dental health. Various tools are available for dental hygiene, with regular tooth brushing still considered the most effective method.
If dogs are accustomed to teeth brushing from a young age, it usually poses no problem, and their dental health can be maintained well into old age. Oral hygiene can significantly impact a dog's overall health, making dental care a concern for every dog owner. Feel free to share this article on Facebook and Twitter to inform more dog enthusiasts about dental care!.