The dental health of your dog can decide the length of his life. That may sound harsh, but it is true.
You can get all the shots, brush his coat, and give him lots of love and walks, but if his gums are red and sore, it can affect his heart and liver, and shorten his life. The bacteria that forms is hard on his body and health.
But there are some things you can do. Studies show that 3 out of 5 dogs over the age of two, actually start getting dental diseases, such as gingivitis, but you can do something now to prevent that and even reverse some cases. It is not your fault, some dogs just seem to be more prone to teeth and gum problems than others.
Example: I have two dogs, they are litter mates, sisters.. They eat exactly the same diet and at the same time of day, they are both treated the same, and yet one dog always has red gums and soreness, and the other does not. My first clue, was when my dog went to chew her favorite chew toy, and there was blood on it after some chewing time. She then tossed it aside and just laid there. I also noticed her demeanor had changed, and she was grumpier. She managed to eat her kibble OK, but I knew something was wrong.
But there is one thing I have noticed between my dogs, and that is the one with good gums and no problems with teeth, loves to chew raw hides for much longer than the other dog. She will spend over an hour on a braided raw hide chew toy.
Whether she just developed this, and then didn't want to chew the raw hides, or whether she is just prone to gingivitis we don't know, but I have to keep on top of her teeth, to keep her gums pink and her teeth white and healthy.
The below tips, will help you get your dogs dental health under control, like I had to do with my dogs. I saw my veterinarian first, and made sure everything else was OK, and then we came up with some plans to keep her teeth and gums healthy. All of these tips work!
1.Get some fresh raw hides, the braided ones you can get, seem to work the best in my opinion and are a longer chew. They last longer, and they seem to chew them longer. Just be careful about little pieces being left around. When your dog chews it down to small pieces, get rid of them as they can choke on them. Also replace the raw hides weekly, don't leave old ones laying around, they can grow bacteria, especially if they like to take them outside as mine do!
2.Brush their teeth. I had a hard time with this at first. But she got used to it, and I try to get it done within a couple of minutes. You can get dog toothbrushes and special toothpaste (liver flavored worked the best for my dog) that does the trick. You don't have to try and get in behind the teeth, especially if you want to keep your fingers! Most of the gum problems are on the fronts of the teeth at the base of the teeth. Do, a quick brushing job, and as quick as you can. Most dogs are not too fond of this.
If you just can't get a toothbrush into your dogs mouth, you can use some gauze wrapped around your finger and rub the toothpaste on the teeth and gums. If you can only get in there for 30 seconds or less aim for the gum line. This is where the redness tends to be.
My dog actually likes that part, having her gums being massaged, but only for a short period of time.
Do not use human products, such as our toothpaste, or even baking soda, as these will upset your dogs tummy. Get the proper dog toothpaste, you can get it at pet food stores and pet supply stores. Liking the flavor in their mouth is half the battle. You may also need some help with this. Have someone expose her gums on one side, brush quickly, then expose the other side. Don't try and open your dogs mouth fully, or you risk getting chomped!
Make sure and have her most favorite treats around for after this exercise. Hopefully she will withstand the teeth brushing, knowing she will get a treat afterwards! Make this a habit at least once a week. (Make sure the treat also is a dental aid of some kind)
3.If your dog is not a huge fan of rawhides, or they are just too hard to chew, then there are other products on the market now, such as softer chews, with special formulas for treating gingivitis in dogs. They also freshen their breath, as dental problems can cause horrible bad breath, and seem to include natural ingredients that help with swollen and red gums. Just make sure they are veterinarian approved somewhere on the package.
I like to give my dogs a softer chew just before bed. It helps to brush their teeth before sleeping, and gives them help with the bacteria and relaxes them. Just make sure the label of these products shows "veterinarian approval" or you can also purchase products from your vets office.
Too bad we couldn't just get our dogs to rinse with Listerine! But in the meantime, it is up to you to take care of the dental health of your dog. Broken teeth can cause trouble too. This is one reason I stay away from those large smoked cow bones you can get for your dog. I know they love them, but dogs have been known to break teeth on those, and many times the bones break and leave sharp edges that can cut your dogs gums or worse.
The dental health of your dog, is up to you. Keep your dogs teeth and gums happy and your dog will be happy and hopefully live a long and healthy life. You owe it to your best friend!