Most dog owners are happy to give their pup a gentle brushing. Brushing all that fur helps keep it off your couch or bed. But how often do you brush your dog’s teeth? A lot of owners don’t do nearly as much as they should for the oral health of your dogs.
Read below as we go through the dos and don’ts of dog tooth care.
The Dos and Don’ts of Dog Tooth Care
There are lots of things, your friends or other people might tell you about your dog’s oral health. There are really only a few things that you can really trust to be true though. The first thing to note is that Your vet is going to be the best person to ask about your dog’s oral health directly.
While your vet will be able to answer some more focused questions, below, we have some excellent dos and don’ts for dog tooth care.
What You Should Do
As with many things when it comes to raising a dog, start young. You should be socializing your dog from an early age to get them used to being with different people and in different situations. You should also get them used to people handling their teeth from an early age.
Getting your dog used to having their mouth handled will help you as your dog ages. It will also help when your vet inevitably needs to work on their mouth as well.
Just like how people should brush their teeth regularly, you should be brushing your dog’s teeth often as well. A daily brushing is the best possible choice. If you can’t commit to brushing each day, you should be doing it at least every other day.
Giving your dog an appropriate chew toy can help them clean up any buildup that has accumulated on their teeth. Any chewy that keeps your dog engaged will benefit their oral hygiene.
A rubber or nylon chew is a great choice, but so are cow ears or chicken strips.
Consider Adjusting Diet
If you’ve been exclusively feeding your dog kibble, don’t be afraid to change things up. While there are great choices when it comes to dry dog food, it can get a bit boring for your dog. A special treat can add a lot of excitement to your dog’s diet.
Ask Your Vet to Check Mouth Health
When you go into the vet for routine check-ups, be sure to ask your vet about your dog’s teeth. Most visits involve checking over your dog’s body and maybe giving shots. Especially as your dog ages, you need to keep a very close eye on your dog’s teeth.
Ask for a Second Opinion
While vets are highly trained to help you keep your dog in good health, some vets may be more invasive than others. If your vet suggests a procedure you are not comfortable with, feel free to seek a second opinion.
Seeking a second opinion doesn’t mean you don’t trust your vet. Each professional has their own style, and you should be free to find a vet who takes your concerns into considerations.
What You Shouldn’t Do
Give Bones as Chew Toys
Many stores sell bones or antlers as a natural chew toy or treat. It seems to make sense too. The reasoning is that in the wild a dog would naturally eat bone. While bone meal is a natural part of a dog’s diet, chewing a bone isn’t the best option.
A dog’s teeth are about as strong as human teeth. Their jaws are much stronger, though. This means that chewing something like an antler or hoof can lead to chipped or fractured teeth. If you think something is too hard for you to chew on, it’s probably too hard for your dog to chew.
There are many synthetic bones or other chew toys that can give your dog a healthy mouth exercise while preserving the quality of their teeth.
Use Human Toothpaste
Along with brushing at least every other day, you should only be using a toothpaste approved for use with dogs. Human toothpaste has many ingredients that can be toxic to dogs. Even a small amount isn’t a good idea.
Toothpaste for dogs comes in flavors your dog will like too. Chicken toothpaste might not be something you’d like to brush with, but your dog will love it.
Quick Tips for Good Oral Health
In short, there are a few tips to consider for your dog’s health.
- Feed your dog high quality food
- Give your dog the chance to chew
- Brush your dog’s teeth at least every other day
- If you have any concerns, contact your vet to discuss them.
Keeping a close eye on your dog’s oral health is as important as watching their physical health. What can start as almost nothing can turn into a costly vet visit.