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Did you know that 12.5% of dogs experience toothache every year?
Unlike hair and nails, our puppy’s teeth aren’t always cared for since dental troubles often go unnoticed. Mostly, these are only manifested by yellowed teeth or bad breath—something that owners assume as normal, given our pup's tendency to be messy. Dental care isn't even usually covered by pet insurance.
Should we really be alarmed by this?
Indeed, dogs aren’t as prone to cavities as humans, but that doesn’t mean they won’t need dental care. Bad breath and plaque build-up are only surface-level problems. Just like us, dogs can also develop life-threatening infections in their organs from a “simple" toothache.
According to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, a periodontal disease strongly influences the development of endocarditis in dogs, which inflames the heart's inner lining. Apart from this, dental diseases are also known to alter your fur-baby's blood-sugar metabolism, resulting in aggravated diabetes.
With these, there’s no doubt healthy teeth are necessary for your pup’s overall health.
The first thing you need to do is equip yourself with the appropriate tools. After all, dental care isn’t a one-shoe-fits-all responsibility. Hence, acquaint yourself with these tools and treats, and get that pearly white smile of your pup!
Starting with the most basic tools—a pair of toothbrushes and toothpaste. It has to be specifically designed for your puppy since our toothbrush can be too harsh or big for some puppies, and our toothpaste contains ingredients like surfactants and xylitol that are harmful to dogs.
In choosing a toothbrush, you have the size and convenience to consider. First, it has to fit well in your puppy’s mouth; second, it has to be convenient for you and your pup. Here are some of your options:
Liven up dental care with these creative treats and toys!
These are made of cow or horse hides that effectively prevent the build-up of tartar and plaque once chewed and rubbed on your puppy’s teeth.
A dog food specifically designed to encourage scrubbing action for dental care. It can be in the form of larger and textured kibbles or kibbles covered with antimicrobial coating.
It’s inedible, so your pup can't swallow it too quickly, and it’s just as effective as treats in removing plaques. Some of your options are Kong and Nina Ottosson, which are alsopuzzle feeders for mental stimulation.
Water additives are food-grade products serving as safe dental rinse added in your puppy’s water bowl. It effectively reduces tartar and kills bacteria without the struggle of brushing.
Spray your dental worries away!
Like water additives, dental sprays are formulated with active ingredients that can soften plaque without brushing your puppy’s delicate teeth. All you have to do is spray it in its mouth and let its magic take effect.
It’s not enough to have the right tools. You must also know the best techniques to keep your puppy’s teeth healthy and well.
If you think brushing your pup’s teeth once a week is enough, you're very wrong. It only takes 24 to 36 hours for bacteria colonies to form in your dog’s teeth. Hence, it’s best to brush those pearly whites daily to keep plaques and these microorganisms at bay.
If every day is too difficult for you, just make sure that you brush it at least 2 to 3 times a week.
Apart from being safe and all-natural, your dog's toothpaste must also be appetising to make your puppy interested in brushing. Some toothpaste comes in peanut butter and vanilla flavours that your dogs would truly enjoy.
If you’re puppy’s not too fond of brushing, you could also opt to use water additives and sprays. A study by Lindinger (2016) found that solutions with oral care products (OCP) reduce plaque formation by 37% in 14 days.
Simply pour dental additives into your dog's water bowl or spray directly into its mouth, and expect fresher kisses from your fur-baby!
Make oral care more fun!
Dogs love working for rewards. Apart from verbal affirmations, they would also love to have something tasty, like treats! With this in mind, why not use treats and toys that could scrape off plaques and protect your puppy’s teeth from bacteria?
Some dental treats recommended by veterinarians are OraVet, Greenies, and Denstatix. What are you waiting for? Your fur-baby would surely appreciate these gifts.
Soft food is more likely to stick to your puppy’s teeth and eventually cause dental problems. Hence, feeding your pup with dry kibble is often preferred.
Although having a veterinarian maintain your puppy’s teeth health is more expensive than following these techniques, it's still the best dental care option out there. After all, a professional can locate and treat dental diseases that our untrained eyes and mind couldn't see. If you want the best for your pup, take him to a vet and have his achy tooth checked!