Dental Care for Dogs

We often joke about how bad our dog’s breath can be but it’s really no laughing matter as time and again it’s a serious consequence of poor dental health. Dental disease, or periodontal disease, is one of the most common conditions seen in UK veterinary surgeries, with over 80% of dogs over the age of three developing the condition. Furthermore, if it’s not treated it can affect other parts of the dog including the kidneys, liver and even the heart. Therefore, looking after your dog’s teeth is of paramount importance. We’ve put together the following article to help you care for your dog’s teeth and avoid any nasty surprises.

What Causes Dental Disease in Dogs?

Dental disease in dogs is a caused by a collection of food particles forming along the gum line to form plaque. When this plaque is combined with saliva it forms what is known as tartar which fixes itself to the teeth. If tartar is not removed it builds up under the gums to form pockets which separate the teeth from the gums and encourages a further build-up of bacteria. This is when dental disease damage is irreversible and can lead to a number of issues such as infection, loss of teeth and abscesses.

How to Spot the Signs of Dental Disease in Dogs

As with many conditions, if you can spot the signs of dental disease early enough, it can be treated which means less damage. Here are some common signs of doggy dental problems: • Bad breath • Increased saliva production • Loss of appetite • Loose or missing teeth • Inflamed, red or bleeding gums • Difficulty eating • Build-up of yellow brown deposits on the teeth next to the gums • Digestive upset • Irritability and even depression

How to Treat Dental Disease in Dogs

The minute you spot any of the symptoms, it’s vital to speak to your vet who will likely recommend dental scale and polish and tooth removal if necessary. Your vet may also request a blood test to ensure there are no organ problems before any dental work is carried out under aesthetic. Once anaesthetised, your vet will likely take an x-ray to determine the location of any abscesses and bone deterioration. They will then scrape the teeth free of any plague ad following this they will scrape the probes underneath the gum line. Furthermore, if a tooth is badly decayed and cannot be saved, it will be extracted. Pain relief and antibiotics are likely to be prescribed as part of your dog’s post-operative care. This will help clean up any remaining bacterial infection

How to Prevent Dental Disease in Dogs

We've all heard the saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ and this is certainly the case when it comes to our dogs teeth. Here’s some tips on how to avoid periodontal disease in dogs: • Brush Your Dog’s Teeth: add brushing to your daily routine and make it a fun experience for you dog too. It’s important that you only use a doggy toothpaste and brush. Here's a video to help you: Feed Dry Dog Food: feeding a dry kibble will help to clean and scrape your dog’s teeth as he chews. Always ensure it’s a good quality natural food and the kibble is the correct size for the size of dog. • Dental Treats and Chews: dogs love to chew so finding appropriate treats and chews that help remove plaque whilst they chew is a great solution. Again, ensure it’s the right chew for the size of dog as chews intended for larger breeds can cause tooth breakages and jaw fracture in smaller breed dogs. Lastly, if you have any concerns it’s always wise to consult your vet. Even if it’s nothing, it’s always best just to check. To help choose a suitable dry food for your dog, click here.

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