Like humans, it is important that your dog or cat has healthy teeth. Animals can suffer from periodontal disease without you seeing any obvious signs. Although if you check, one of the first signs is a foul-smelling breath. This is often caused by a build-up of plaque when food proteins start to break down. The following questions and answers may help you understand this better.
What is Plaque?
Plaque is a film that develops on teeth naturally, although it cannot be seen.
How Does Plaque Change to Tartar?
You can scrape this soft material away with a fingernail or toothbrush. Although if left the plaque and minerals in the dogs saliva starts to harden, and tartar forms. Tartar has a rough hard surface causing more plaque.
What Happens if I Ignore This?
Plaque and Tartar will irritate the gums causing gingivitis. Tartar builds up under the gum line, causing the gums to separate from the teeth where bacteria live.
Damage of the periodontal ligament by oral bacteria could cause loose teeth which can even fall out. Abscesses can lead to fractured jaws in small dogs. This may result in the infection of the dog or cat's heart, lungs, liver and kidneys if bacteria enters into the blood system?
Another sign is excessive saliva. This results in sensitive and inflamed gums, creating more problems when chewing their food.
Does Your Dog Have Signs of Gum Disease?
It is a fact that more than 80% of dogs show signs of gum disease at the age of three or four. If your dogs breath is foul, contact your vet for advice.
How Can I Prevent Plaque and Tarter?
Brushing Their Teeth – This is the best way to reduce the fight against dental plaque. Daily brushing is important and should be done from an early age.
Steps on How to Brush Dogs Teeth
- Never stand in front of your dog, stand beside them
- Give him a cuddle to relax the dog before starting
- Use a soft toothbrush to suit the size of dogs mouth, available from a vet
Different Types of Dental Treats
Dental Treats and Chews can help to avoid the build up of plaque. Do your research or ask your vet for advice on which one is best for your dog. I have given you and example her of a couple of them.
A kibble based diet is specifically formulated to promote oral and dental health. Due to its different shape and texture, the kibble creates an abrasive effect on teeth during chewing, which helps to break down the bacteria forming the plaque.
Canine Greenies – an all natural formula, giving a fresher breath. Its toothbrush shape with rounded edges fits the dogs teeth, cleaning hard to reach spots as he chews. Its soluble formulation is designed to break down immediately when it comes into contact with the dogs saliva. It makes it easy for dogs of all sizes to swallow and digest with ease.
Research has found that the size of the dog's head affects the way it bites. Therefore, dogs with a broad skull, moderate skull or narrow skull all have different chewing patterns.
Suggested Use for Dogs - One a day
There are five chewy textures and sizes to choose from:
- Jumbo – Dogs over 45kg
- Large – Dogs 22-45kg
- Regular – Dogs 11-22kg
- Petite – Dogs 7-11 kg
- Teeny – Dogs 2-7kg
It is important to buy the right size treats for your dog. Always watch that your dog chews any type of treat before leaving it alone. Like children, dogs do not always chew their food properly.
Design of Feline Greenies for Cats
Greenies designed a special soft texture treat to allow the penetration of the cats teeth into the treat. They come in two flavors, Chicken and Ocean fish.
Other Problems With Dog Teeth
Cracked Tooth - Many dogs have other painful problems with their teeth. Our dog had a cracked tooth and we were miles from nowhere and did not know at that time what was the problem. Titan could not settle at all, in fact, he kept us walking the streets all night. The only thing we could do was give him half an Aspro.
In the morning, we drove to the next town which was over one hundred kilometres away and took him to the human hospital.
The doctor sat him on an outside table and found the cracked tooth. He rang a vet to find the correct dosage for a dog of Titans size and that kept him happy until we drove another three hundred kilometres to a vet. They extracted the problem tooth, although he does not like travelling as much these days. It affected his nerves.
When a puppy loses his first teeth it is not uncommon for the new tooth to grow crooked. Always get your vet to check their teeth at each check-up for any problems.
Always watch for signs of a change in he dogs eating habits. Loss of appetite or a dog rubbing his face against things or facial swellings. Another sign is when a dog that normally sleeps through the night is restless and does not settle as normal.
If you see blood on the dogs toys or biscuits, your dog could have a gum problem.
Always take your dog to your vet for regular dental and health checks.