While we’re programmed from childhood to take good care of our own gnashers, most of us are guilty of forgetting that Fido needs quality dental care too. While the team here at Ou Kaapse Vet will be able to assist you with any problem areas you spot in your pooch’s dental health, a little in-home preventative care can go a long way to ensuring your pet’s smile stays happy and healthy.
The great news is that dogs are simply not as cavity-prone as humans. Part of that is due to the lack of significant sweet treats in their diet, and part of it comes down to their unique body structure. However tartar [the hard calluses that form on teeth] and plaque, as well as gingivitis [swollen, bleeding gums] can still be a problem for them. Good dental care will help extend your dog’s life as well as keep them fitter and happier, so it’s important to get into a routine of brushing their teeth regularly.
How to brush a dog’s teeth
You can use a toothbrush designed for a dog’s narrow mouth, or opt for an ‘on-finger’ toothbrush to help banish their dental woes. Your dog likely won’t be thrilled at the brushing, but most soon adapt and get used to the procedure. Lift the gums and softly sweep the brush at a 45 degree angle [this cleans gums too] over the tooth surfaces. Training your dog to accept this procedure from puppy years will make everything easier in the long run.
Help, I can’t do this!
If you find you and your dog simply can’t get into a daily brushing routine, don’t worry- there’s still some help available to you. Some oral rinses and pastes, while not quite as effective as mechanical brushing, will still provide dental protection. Ensuring that you feed your dog a diet of high-quality, crunchy kibble, and that they have a range of dental safe treats to chew on will also help keep their mouth and breath fresh. As always, support them with a well balanced diet full of healthy vitamins and minerals
What toothpaste can I use?
Whether you opt for a toothpaste or an oral rinse, ensure you use only veterinarian approved products made for dogs. You cannot use ‘human’ oral products on your dog.
If you notice your pup favouring a side of their mouth, an increase in tartar or bad breath, a painful mouth or pawing at the mouth, depression, reluctance to eat, painful gums and broken teeth or any other dental feature that gives you concern, do please feel free to bring your dog in to the team at Ou Kaapse Vet. We can assist with a dental deep clean, tooth scaling and correcting other dental issues to ensure your pet lives a happy, healthy life.