No one likes bad breath. Dog breath is even worse, but did you know that a dog’s bad breath could be a precursor to a more serious condition? It may seem slightly trivial to some pet owners, but a dog’s bad breath could mean they are suffering from gum disease just as many humans do. Likewise, just as you brush your own teeth daily, it is important to do the same for your dog in order to avoid costly and sometimes painful consequences...
Why is dog dental care so important?
Studies show that 85% of all pets will develop periodontal disease before the age of 3. In dogs, this condition is known as Canine Periodontitis. Canine Periodontitis is a bacterial infection of your dog’s mouth, and occurs in four stages.
First, plaque develops and the gums become mildly inflamed. Plaque forms when food combines with bacteria in the mouth. The plaque becomes a hard substance called Tartar after combining with saliva in the dog’s mouth, and adheres to the surface of the teeth.
The next stage is Gingivitis or gum disease, which will be obvious from your dog’s bad breath. This occurs because bacteria becomes trapped under the dog’s gum line, which irritates the gums causing inflammation.
Mild Periodontitis follows after inflammation and finally, fully established Periodontitis develops which can lead to bone loss and/or loss of teeth. In the most extreme cases of Periodontitis, the trapped bacteria can travel through the bloodstream to the kidneys, liver, and heart, potentially causing infections.
How can you prevent gum disease from happening?
It is important to begin your dog’s fight against canine gum disease at home with a simple brushing regimen. You can choose from many different kinds of toothpaste for dogs, in both organic and non-organic varieties.
Pure and Natural Pet™ offers a line of breath freshening, USDA certified organic plaque and tartar fighting gels that are free of chemicals, dyes, and preservatives. In addition they are also free of Fluoride, Saccharin and other artificial flavors. The gels also contain no latex, for any dogs who may have a latex allergy.
Once you’ve chosen the right toothpaste for your dog, it is advised that you brush daily to clear excess food particles from between your dog’s teeth, and you can cheaply purchase a finger brush for that purpose from your vet or use a child’s toothbrush. Pure and Natural Pet also offers an ergonomic bamboo toothbrush with dental grade bristles.
It is possible to counteract the early stages of gum disease in dogs with professional cleaning. However, once a dog is afflicted with Periodontal Disease, it is nonreversible. At this point the condition can be managed with a thorough at-home cleaning regimen and regular professional cleanings from your veterinarian will be required, but it will not go away.
Dental cleaning must occur while your dog is under a general anesthetic. While your dog is out, the vet can more thoroughly inspect the health of the animal’s entire mouth and will also keep your dog pain-free while the vet is cleaning their teeth. The vet also will not have to worry about the risk of getting bitten sticking their hand in a dog’s mouth.
A typical dental cleaning procedure might look like this:
- Removal of plaque and tartar from the teeth and from under the gum
- Polishing of teeth to smooth away areas that may invite bacteria
- Probing of mouth to assess the degree of dental disease
- Charting the progression of dental disease over time
- Inspection of the entire mouth for wounds or other problems
More extreme cases may require additional procedures such as:
- Dental X-rays to reveal problems below the gumline
- Use of Fluoride gels to strengthen the enamel on your dog’s teeth
- Removal or repair of damaged teeth
Visits to the vet are already scary enough for your dog and downright terrifying for your wallet. You can prevent all of that by purchasing a tube of dog toothpaste and cleaning their teeth daily at home. Cleaning their teeth at home can be a very simple process with a little bit of patience. Most dogs will eventually allow you to brush their teeth. You mainly want to focus on the outer side of the teeth under the upper lip of your dog, so it will be an easy and painless experience for your dog, the way brushing one's teeth should be!