Canine Dental Hygiene

Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

Canine Dental Hygiene

Although dogs do not get cavities, they do benefit from a regular oral hygiene regiment. It is important to keep your dog’s mouth as clean and bacteria free as possible. A healthy mouth includes regular brushing and cleaning to prevent the build-up of plaque and calculus on the teeth. Plaque is a combination of food particles, enzymes found in the saliva, and bacterial growth. Calculus is a hardening of plaque deposits, which over time have built up forming a hard sticky black, brown or yellowish-gray deposit. Calculus build-up is the major cause of periodontal disease in dogs. It causes the gums to become inflamed, which may also cause bleeding, and if left untreated could eventually lead to infection and tooth loss. A professional with the use of a dental tooth scaler or ultrasonic cleaner must remove built-up calculus.

Regular canine oral hygiene should include brushing your dog’s teeth once a week; there are several commercially available canine toothbrush kits with special canine toothpaste. Do not use regular (human) toothpaste on your dog. Introduce your dog to brushing with a soft cloth or one of the special teeth cleaning pads. Wrap the cloth around your index finger, apply a small amount of the canine toothpaste and begin by gently rubbing the teeth and gums using a circular motion. Reassure your dog and try to make it an enjoyable experience. Reward him after each session with one of the numerous dental chew products available at your local pet supplier.

After your dog has become use to the cloth procedure, advance to a specially designed canine toothbrush. Use as you would your own toothbrush, but be careful not to press too hard while brushing.

Regularly providing your dog with hard chew toys designed to help oral hygiene will also cut down on build-ups. Food and treat choices such as hard dry kibble, bones or biscuits can also help to reduce tarter, plaque and calculus build-up. Schedule regular veterinarian oral examinations and teeth cleanings for your dog. Your vet can suggest a regiment of biannual or annual cleanings.

Prevention is the best means of defense, always be aware of the signs of canine oral hygiene problems. Visually inspect your dog’s mouth on a regular basis. Look for signs of red inflamed, swollen or bleeding gums. Bad or foul smelling breath is a sure sign of an oral hygiene problem. Pain while eating hard foods, such as biscuits, fever and excessive water drinking can also be signs of an infection or abscessed tooth. If these symptoms do not improve or abate with an oral hygiene regiment, consult your veterinarian.

Studies have shown that dental hygiene, along with regular professional cleanings, can help prevent diseases and significantly extend your dog’s life.

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