Dogs aren't exactly known for having sweet breath, but there's a difference between your dog having stinky breath from their food and the stink of dental decay or gum disease. Unfortunately, many dogs suffer from undiagnosed dental problems, unbeknownst to their owners. If you haven't had your dog taken in for a dental check-up or cleaning recently or ever, you might be one of those owners. Proper dog care includes good dental care.
Dog Oral Health
Dogs can suffer from extremely poor oral health, just like humans can. Cavities can develop from plaque and tartar going unchecked, and gum disease is unfortunately common in dogs as well.
Sadly, dogs often suffer needlessly from dental pain without their owners realizing it. Unfortunately, it's not just a matter of being in pain. Without dental care, your dog's teeth could actually begin to break down, and with severe enough gum disease, there can even be bone loss in the teeth and jaw. Dogs who go through this level of dental disease typically need several teeth extracted and careful, thorough cleanings and antibacterial care under general anesthesia.
Maintaining at Home
If you're not caring for your dog's oral health at home, it's time to start. Here are a few ideas on what you should do:
Dental Chew Toys - These toys can help to scour off plaque of your dog's teeth, and most dogs love chewing on things anyway.
Dog Toothpaste - Dogs need their teeth to be brushed regularly, but you can't use human toothpaste, as it isn't safe to swallow. Pet toothpaste is, so you can use as much of it as you need to.
Water Additives - Several varieties of water additives exist that are designed to help break down plaque and kill off bacteria. You simply add it to your dog's water bowl and it does the rest.
Most doggy dental problems can be avoided if you simply take care of them at home between dental appointments.
Get a Check-Up
Finally, especially if your dog hasn't ever gotten this type of care before, visit your vet and get a dental check-up. Any existing problems will be diagnosed and treated. This is an important thing to do since pet owners can't reverse tartar and gum disease at home.
If your dog has any serious problems, the aforementioned procedure may be necessary. However, in most cases, your dog will do just fine with a standard dental cleaning. This will scrape away the tartar and build-up and ensure that your dog's oral health can be maintained by you at home.
Your dog deserves to see a vet for dental care, just like you deserve to be able to see a dentist for yours. If your dog needs dental care or you're not sure if they have a problem, give your local vet a call and get an appointment set up.