Stinky breath or serious health issue? We’re here to tell you that it’s time to pay attention to that odor you smell when Fido is giving you wet kisses. February is National Pet Dental Health Month and we want to share with you how you can improve the dental health of your dog.
You many not realize it, but your dog’s oral health is directly related to their overall health and what may seem like a small case of bad breath, may actually be indicating a much larger problem. Take the time to brush-up on your oral health knowledge, your dog will thank you!
Some facts to consider:
- According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs will develop some form of oral disease by the age of three.
- Just like with humans, not addressing your dog’s oral health could lead to secondary diseases like heart disease.
- Dogs get tartar build up too! Bacteria and food can build up on your dog’s gums and teeth, which left uncleaned can turn into periodontal disease.
Read How You Can Care for Your Dog’s Teeth, No Veterinarian Required!
Written by Katy Cable
- Feed your dog a nutritious, species appropriate, diet. This sets the stage for vibrant good health. However, I can’t tell you how many pet-parents assume feeding their dog a hard, dry kibble is all that’s necessary in order to take care of their pet’s teeth. Unfortunately, feeding great food of any kind is not enough to prevent dental disease for the life of your pet. It would be the same as thinking eating crunchy granola bars was all you needed to keep your own teeth clean.
- Perform routine mouth inspections. Your pet should allow you to open his mouth, look inside, and feel around for loose teeth or unusual lumps or bumps on the tongue, under the tongue, along the gum line and on the roof of his mouth. After you do this a few times, you’ll become sensitive to any changes that might occur from one inspection to the next. You should also make note of any differences in the smell of your pet’s breath that aren’t diet-related.
- Offer your pet raw bones to gnaw on. This is an excellent way to help remove tartar the old fashioned way — by grinding it off through repetitive chewing. There are some rules to offering raw bones (not for pets with pancreatitis, diseases of the mouth, weak or fractured teeth, resource guarders, “gulpers,” etc.) so ask your vet if raw bones would be a good “toothbrush” for your dog. I recommend offering a raw bone about the same size as your pet’s head to prevent tooth fractures.
One of the secrets to successful tooth brushing is to progress slowly and gently, allowing your dog to adapt at their own pace. When you first get your dog, you can begin a cleaning routine by wrapping a small piece of sterile gauze around your finger, and letting them become familiar with having your finger in their mouth. Gently rub the top front teeth and slowly work your way to the back teeth. Then do the same on the lower teeth. Praise your dog often and keep these sessions short. If your dog resists, try doing this while they’re relaxing and more mellow which is typically around their bedtime. If they resist, stop and try again another time. Also confirm they don’t have another underlying problem causing mouth pain.
The next step is to use a safe, natural dental cleaning product designed for pets and apply a small amount to the gauze before you rub your dog’s teeth. If you don’t have canine toothpaste, you can use organic coconut oil. Once they get used to this, you can progress to either a finger brush or a soft toothbrush the right size for their mouth.
If your furry companion is highly resistant to having their teeth rubbed or brushed, or, in the case of a new rescue/shelter dog that comes with a mouth needing major attention, you can use Treatibles CBD treats and oil. (Use promo code: WEEKLY RUNT to receive a 10% discount on your order) This all-natural cannibis works miracles to chill-out an anxious dog. (To learn more about all the amazing benefits of CBD read my blog) I have tried several prescriptions and have found CBD to be the most effective and with ZERO harmful side-effects. Also, ask your vet about products that when applied to the teeth go to work to break down plaque and tartar without brushing. Those can be an added bonus for Pugs or other pets with dental issues. Remember, the more rubbing and brushing your pet will allow, the more quickly you’ll see results, and the easier it will be to maintain dental health.