Have you checked your dog’s teeth? February is Pet Dental Awareness Month, which makes it a great reminder to check their teeth and/or make an appointment to have them examined by their veterinarian. Dental health is extremely important not only to humans but our four legged fur babies at home. What works for dogs does not always work for cats, so we are breaking the dental topic into one blog on dental care for dogs and to follow up in two weeks discussing cats.
Majority of the issues our veterinarians see in their patients is periodontal disease, which is largely preventable at home. Did you know that by the age of 2 years 80% of our dogs show signs of periodontal disease. Dogs do not run into the same cavities issue we humans have, unless their diets are high in sugary foods like sweet potatoes and bananas. We often do not notice until it has advanced and they are in extreme pain/discomfort. Some symptoms that appear are red/swollen gums, blood in the water bowl, bad breath, favoring one side of the mouth or dropping food. Patience’s teeth from day one were horrible. The shelter estimated her age at 1 year to 18 months when I adopted her (ugh they were disgusting). She also somehow cracked one of canine’s during one of her houdini escapes from her kennel. So for me, when I brought Zoey home, getting her started on a regular dental routine was at the top of things I wanted her to learn early on.
Do you brush their teeth? I tried with Patience to introduce her to brushing her teeth, but she turned her nose up at the toothpaste and it didn’t matter the flavor or brand. Zoey loves the toothpaste and I have just started introducing her to the toothbrush which she loves. Using wipes on their teeth is another option to cleaning their teeth if they are not comfortable with brushing or your vet suggests this method. Cotton swabs and gauze also work instead of purchasing wipes with a small amount of toothpaste. Check out Goodhousekeeping for their 7 best dogtooth paste of 2020. Personally, I tried the wipes with Patience’s, but she was a finicky girl with her teeth or mouth being touched, even by me. All the positive reinforcement training did nothing in 5 years to let me do anything more than a quick check.
Luckily, there are numerous options for pet parents to purchase to use as addition to their regular brushing routing. We have dental chews, toys, and water additives to choose from.
My only option for Patience was her dental chewies. Every couple months, I would change out the brand or flavor to keep things interesting for her. I tried toys, but since she showed little interest in toys, plus with her canine being cracked, I shied away from anything hard. I will be adding dental chews to her routine once Zoey is 6 month of age. I am looking to see what dental toys she will enjoy. If you have any suggestions please share them with me.
Since Patience only liked the dental chews, I was in search of finding a water additive because the dental chew alone was not enough to clean her teeth. During the summer of 2020, I was listening to Wear Wag Repeat podcasts when the host interviewed the Dr. Emily Stein, owner of TEEF and a microbiologist. (Click here for the podcast). TEEF created by a powdered formula called Protektin42™. Dr. Stein was inspired by her own dog’s health issues and created a product that would be healthy for dogs and humans. Since February is Pet Dental Health Month, check out their website to see what deals they have going this month (click here). I do not receive any affiliation or receive any monetary compensation for suggesting this company. I do plan on purchasing this for little Zoey. Starting Zoey on routine dental care now will set her up for success as she gets older. There are other products available, and check with your veterinarian before purchasing.
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Pet MD https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/5-interesting-facts-about-your-dogs-teeth
American Veterinary Dental College https://avdc.org/