Our Dogs Need Dentists Too

Submitted by Amber Drake

As dog lovers, we want to do as much as possible to ensure our dog is happy, healthy, and well-cared for. We want to maintain their health, but we often forget about one facet of health.

Dental health. Don’t beat yourself up if you have never thought about your dog’s dental health. There are many dog lovers who do forget.

Dogs can have similar issues to ours when it comes to their teeth and gums. If we don’t see the dentist in a while, some of us will start to notice our dental health deteriorating. If we don’t brush our teeth, our teeth feel ‘yucky’ and I don’t know about you… but if I forget to brush my teeth I am in a panic and need to rush to find a toothbrush.

Knowing more about your dog’s dental health will help you understand how to better care for your furry best friend. We have compiled just a few facts for you. But, we recommend you dig a little deeper after reading this article to learn more yourself.

GUM DISEASE STINKS!

Gum disease is extremely common in dogs. You wouldn’t think so… but wow. Researchers have found most dogs show signs of gum disease as early as three years old.

Signs of gum disease in dogs include bad breath, yellow or brown buildup in their mouth (tartar), and irritated gums.

Examine your dog’s mouth on a regular basis to check for these signs. When you go to your annual check-up at the veterinarian, you can request they take a look at your dog’s teeth, too.

ROOT CANALS FOR DOGGIES

Have you ever had a root canal? Or, knew someone who had it done? Dogs need root canals sometimes too.

Most people think root canals are only for humans, but this is just not the case. It’s more common than you think for dogs to break teeth.

If your dog needs a root canal, don’t panic about the cost. It usually costs about the same as our own root canals. And, you can investigate payment plans like CareCredit offers.

To help avoid the need for a root canal, be sure to monitor what your dog is chewing on. Hard objects like rocks (yes, many dogs do chew on rocks), wood, and hard toys can be hazardous to your dog’s dental health.

Providing your dog with ‘soft’ objects can help significantly. We don’t mean soft as in toys they can shred apart in two seconds. But, beware of objects you know are just much too rough for their mouth.

PERIODONTAL DISEASE IS REAL

Wait. Periodontal disease in dogs is a thing? Yes, this is relatively common in dogs, too. Smaller breeds are at a higher risk than larger breeds because their teeth are actually a bit too big for their little mouths.

There are signs you can look out for here too.

Yellow teeth. Brown teeth. Loose teeth. Missing teeth. Smelly, yucky breath. Swollen gums. Loss of appetite. Weight loss.

To prevent periodontal disease, you should brush your dog’s teeth regularly. Of course if you have an adult dog who has never had his teeth brushed, this can be quite the process.

Be sure to introduce the toothbrush slow to your dog or puppy. And, be patient.

You should also request dental cleanings from your veterinarian on an annual basis to keep up on your dog’s dental health.

TOOTH INFECTIONS HURT

Tooth infections are horrrrrible. Have you ever had one? If not, you are one of the lucky ones. Tooth infections can cause all sorts of pain for us… headaches, nausea, and just plain out feeling awful.

If your dog’s 4th premolar is infected (this is more commonly infected than the others), you will notice swelling under their eye.

The reason the 4th premolar is a concern is because this tooth is larger than the others. You might also know this tooth as the carnassial tooth.

Our dogs don’t feel well when they have tooth infections either. Keep those teeth clean.

P.S.- Only use the toothbrushes and toothpaste that are specifically designed for our dogs. They can’t use our toothpaste… they need their own.

THE BOTTOM LINE ON DENTAL HEALTH

Just as your dental health is an important aspect of your overall health, your dog’s is too. We want them to feel as good as possible. We want them to live long, healthy lives. Ensuring they have good dental health plays a huge role in their well-being.

Regular checkups and consulting with your veterinarian on recommended toys, treats, and food will keep your furry friend healthy and happy.