Did you know that February is Pet Dental Health Month? According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, pets’ dental health is related to their overall well-being, and has the potential to extend both the length and the quality of their life.
Your dog is your best friend and a part of your family. You do your very best to make her healthy and happy. You see that she gets plenty of exercise, good food and good grooming. You bathe her regularly, watch for parasites and take her for regular veterinarian check-ups and shots.
How much do you do to make sure her teeth are strong and healthy?
Dental health is vital for dogs. As predators and scavengers, teeth are one of their most important organs. It’s easy to forget that when you’re only feeding them manufactured dog food. Despite the relative ease of getting food, which is one of the benefits of evolving to become companions for human, your dog is still an animal that instinctively relies on her teeth. They’re vital for chewing, hunting and even defense, if it becomes necessary.
It’s tough to keep up with your pet’s needs, particularly in this day and age where we’re constantly on the go and have precious few moments to take care of ourselves and our family. But you know you can’t neglect your duty when your dog is a beloved family member. Your dog can’t tell you that her teeth hurt in so many words. Keep the care of her teeth at the forefront of your mind when you create your checklist of things you need to do regularly for your dog.
Tips For Clean Dog Mouths
What can you do to ensure your dog has healthy teeth? It’s hardly rocket science and you don’t need a degree in dentistry. Think of the things humans do to take care of their own teeth; they won’t be all that different for dogs (but I don’t recommend eating Dentastix). Here are basic some steps you can add to your pet care routine:
– Check your dog’s teeth, gums and breath. You should do this weekly. Although dogs aren’t known for their minty fresh breaths, excessively bad breath can be a sign of health problems. Check her teeth for decay and cavities, and her gums to make sure that they are healthy and firm.
– Invest in a doggie tooth cleaning kit. It will come with a special tooth brush, edible toothpaste and instructions on how to brush her teeth and get her accustomed to it. Note: do NOT use regular toothpaste for humans to clean her teeth—fluoride is very poisonous to dogs.
– Buy your dog plenty of chew toys. Not only are they entertaining and fun for her, they will also help to reduce plaque and tartar build-up in her mouth.
– Feed your dog special tooth cleaning snacks. There are several brands of snacks, such as Dentastix, Whimzees or Twistix, designed to reduce tartar and plaque while providing a tasty treat for her. Also note that dry dog food is better for dental health than canned dog food.
– Make sure your veterinarian includes dental health as part of their overall examination of your dog. See if they offer cleanings, and check your pet insurance in case it covers dental care.
Alex is a blogger at Greenspoint Dental, a family dental practice located in Houston, Texas. Alex knows how irritating it is when someone’s dog has very bad breath.