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Doggie Dental 101

Though we are quick to supply flea and tick medication, schedule a regular vet appointment or even take our furry friends to the groomers, we often over look a very important aspect of canine health—their teeth. Monitoring and maintaining your dog's oral health can prevent bad breath, remove plaque and tartar buildup and decrease the risk of detrimental dental problems.

Not sure where to start? Here are 10 tips to help you keep those pearly canines in tip top shape.

1. Brushing
If you're first inclination is to grab a toothbrush and get started, you're on the right track. Brushing your dog's teeth is an excellent way to help increase and then maintain oral health. Since human toothpaste can make your dog sick, be sure to find dog toothpaste and dental products made specifically for canine use.

2. Dental Wipes
Try as you might, brushing isn't for every dog. If you find that your dog is not a fan of the toothbrush, you may want to consider dog dental wipes. Though these still require you to place your hands inside the mouth and around the gum line, they are less invasive and may be more acceptable to your dog.

3. Oral Sprays
Having trouble getting your dog to open up and say "ahh"? For some owners, brushing or dental wipes just aren't in the cards, and that's okay! Oral sprays are a great alternative to help prevent plaque and tartar buildup. Dog oral sprays are formulated to eliminate bad breath and reduce plaque and tartar buildup without brushing or wiping.

4. Water Additives
If you've tried to brush, wipe or spritz your way to doggie dental health to no avail, you're not alone. If you or your dog are uncomfortable or unwilling to attempt the dental care techniques above, you will need to consider another route. Water additives can be put directly to your pet's water supply and offer a feasible solution to bad breath and plaque and tartar reduction.

5. Dog Dental Treats
Dental care doesn't have to be work. In fact, it could be a real treat! Specifically designed to taste great while improving oral health, dog dental treats are a great way to sneak in some tender loving tooth care. Canine Greenies and other dog dental treats are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and flavors making it easy to find one that your pup will love.

6. Rawhide Chews
Chewing is a natural and healthy instinct for puppies and adult dogs alike. Though it may not always benefit your shoes, when correctly redirected, chewing can have a positive impact on your dog's teeth and gums. Rawhide and rawhide chews provide dogs with a healthy chewing outlet while strengthening jaws and aiding in plaque and tartar removal.

7. Rubber and Rope Chews
Rawhide chews are not always the right choice for every dog; however, rubber and rope chews are an excellent alternative. Much like rawhide, rubber chew toys like the Kong can improve gum health and jaw strength, while rope toys can provide the friction necessary to remove plaque and tartar.

8. Dental Healthy Diet
Much like you, the food your dog eats can have a negative impact on his or her oral health. Avoid feeding your dog "people food" or table scraps to help decrease the risk of harmful dental conditions. Avoid tooth decay and dental disease by sticking to dog food or a meal plan specifically recommended by your vet.

9. Know the Signs
As with any illness or health problem, knowing the symptoms and signs can help you respond quickly and seek appropriate treatmentt. Becoming familiar with the most common dog dental issues will empower you to take action and keep your doggie smiling!

Symptoms and Signs
  • Bad breath
  • Red, swollen or irritated gums
  • Excessive drooling
  • Loss of appetite/Reluctance to eat
  • Swelling below the eye
  • Tooth loss
  • Loose teeth
  • Receding gum line

Ask the Vet
If your dog exhibits any of the signs or symptoms above make it a point to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. Even if your dog does not exhibit any of the symptoms, regular cleanings can be very beneficial and often necessary to the strength and integrity of his or her teeth and gums.


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