Our dog’s dental needs are probably one of the most neglected responsibilities of pet owners. Though this may look like a minimal job, the effects of ignoring these may be detrimental on the dog’s health especially as he or she gets older. Gum infections and the pain of loosened and unhealthy teeth will hinder a dog from eating and many cases actually die due to dehydration and starvation. We have to remember that Brownie’s dental care is as important as his other needs. Here are some tips regarding improving your dog’s dental health and what you can do to prevent future teeth troubles.
It is never too late to start – whether you have a 5 year old Shih Tzu or a newly acquired puppy, it doesn’t matter. What matters is what you can do to help your pet. First requirement is to train your dog to allow you to touch his or her teeth. This is vital as all the need to do’s about dental care entails touching your dog’s mouth. Sudden contact may cause the dog to get surprised and bite especially when he is not accustomed to it. Try saying a word like “Teeth!” everytime you touch his face and do not forget to give treats and rewards everytime he allows you to touch his face for him to know he did something good. Remember consistence is the key! While training, make sure to bring your pet to the vet and have him checked for any plaque and calculus formation – the yellow hardened crust usually formed on the teeth surface near the gums. Should you observe any gum reddening, swelling, loosened teeth, and jaw fractures, inform the vet as soon as possible. These cases already need medical attention and only a veterinarian is knowledgeable and trained to facilitate removal and treatment.
Brush your dog’s teeth as often as you brush yours. If it may take some time before your pet gets accustomed to this new habit, start by brushing once, then twice, and then increase it as often as necessary daily. Also, put a little dog toothpaste first and eventually increase the amount. Human toothpaste is not advisable to use because it is not as effective on the canine plaque removal. You must also include dental rinses in the dog’s water for maintenance of dental health. All these are available on the local pet store and you can also have a wide variety of choices for toothpaste, toothbrush and oral rinses.
Cavities and infected gums can always be prevented. Even if your dog already has them, there will always be ways to avoid these unhealthy signs. A pet owner must understand that having dog is not just having a little creature to cuddle and play with; and the responsibilities don’t only include feeding, bathing and providing a loving environment. Even though it may look insignificant for many pet owners, we must always keep in mind that our dog’s dental health demands attention and dealing with it is every bit of our responsibility as his or her owner.