How to maintain healthy teeth for your dog

How to maintain healthy teeth for your dog

By Richard Keysa


Dogs use their teeth every day for eating, chewing, biting, and playing. For a dog, it is one of the most important parts of their body. According to vets, 70% of dogs will experience dental issues, if not maintained, when they are three years old. It is important for your dog to maintain proper dental hygiene to prevent issues and to ensure a healthy set of teeth. Dental issues can lead to severe problems such as gum inflammation, gum recession, teeth loss, and mental problems. These dental issues can lead to more serious problems affecting its kidneys, lungs, and the heart. It is best to do a routine checkup with your vet and also maintain your dog’s teeth yourself.

Are my dog’s teeth healthy?

Firstly, try to examine your dog’s teeth. If any combination of these symptoms show then it is preferable to bring your dog to a vet for a checkup to prevent problems down the line. 

  • Bad breath: This issue has been reported by many dog owners in the past, some linking this problem to diet instead. Unlike humans where we can just pop a mint or one of those spray fresheners, a dog may find difficulties in maintaining a fresh breath. Bad breath in dogs may indicate an excess of bacteria and plaque in their mouths. Another cause for bad breath may be potential gum disease. Gum disease risks the quality of your dog’s teeth, infection, and tooth loss. 
  • Mouth indications: A frequently asked question by dog owners is “What should my dog’s teeth and gums look like?” You can always check your dog’s mouth visually for any problems. Check for any cracked or broken teeth, it may cause discomfort to your dog when it eats. Its tongue also needs to be checked for any cuts or lumps. Lastly, check its gums if there are any bright red spots to avoid bleeding or gum diseases. Inflamed, bleeding, or lumps on gums may indicate gum disease, or even tumors, and need to be treated right away.  
  • Teeth discoloration: Even humans aren’t guaranteed white sparkly teeth, but if your dog’s tooth has a yellowish tint to it you can be wary. Pay attention to your dog’s tooth closest to the gums, if there is a yellowish tint or a brownish stain, it may indicate plaque. 
  • Drooling: Excessive drooling may indicate dental problems due to the dog’s hesitance to swallow its own saliva or an excess in saliva production. 
  • Expressing discomfort: Dogs may even express distress, discomfort, and mental problems due to their dental problems. Just like any other sicknesses, look for hints about how your dog behaves when it engages in activities with its mouth. Is it hesitating to play with its chew toy? Does it have issues chewing its food properly? Sometimes your dog may even whimper and howl because of the discomfort. Other times your dog may excessively lick or paw at its mouth to tell you that it is experiencing discomfort in that area. 

After identifying problems with your dog’s teeth, it is recommended to immediately see a vet. Solving the dental problems right away can save some ruckus caused by your dog and you would not want your dog suffering for too long. On average, an oral exam for your dog can cost around RM250 or more. Oral exams should be done regularly to get rid of plaque and cleaning your dog’s teeth. 

How can I keep my dog’s teeth healthy?

Besides going to the vet, there are several things you can do at home to ensure your dog has a healthy set of teeth. Doing so can prevent many problems in the long run, and having to spend too much on dog dental care costs. Here are several things you can do at home to maintain your dog’s oral health:

  • Regularly bushing your dog’s teeth: Brushing your dog’s teeth is an effective way to prevent plaque and bacteria buildup. Unlike human teeth which need to be brushed daily, dogs don’t require you to do so. Brushing at least 4 times a week is recommended. Most dogs however do not like their teeth to be brushed, so training and a bit of treat persuasion can be implemented for its cooperation. Proper toothpaste for dogs is also important because they usually have an aroma that gets dogs to cooperate. Depending on what your dog likes, you can get a dog toothbrush or a finger tooth brush for easy cleaning. One of the best tools for brushing your dog’s teeth is the NutriVet Dental Hygiene Kit for Pets that includes a great enzymatic toothpaste and both a dog toothbrush and a finger toothbrush. 

Recommended product: C.E.T Toothpaste (Vanilla Mint) for Pets

How to clean dog teeth without brushing

The most common problem owners experience is dogs not cooperating with them when wanting to brush their teeth. Training can always be done, but doing so can take a lot of time and effort. In some cases, training won’t be an effective method to get your dog to oblige due to the discomfort they fee during tooth brushing sessions. As an alternative, here are several ways you can maintain your dog’s oral health without brushing: 

  • Healthy snacks: Dry snacks are better than soft snacks for your dog’s dental health. Snacks that are semi liquid or soft can stick onto the dog’s teeth and gums causing bacteria buildup and decay. Crunchy snacks also stimulate better chewing stimulation than soft snacks which causes healthy tooth growth. Treating your dog with a healthy snack such as crunchy beef liver will not only maintain dental health, it’ll make your dog love you even more!

Recommended product: Back 2 Nature Wild Bites Roo Ribs Dog Treats

  • Dog chews: Similarly, dog chews are like snacks but encourage your dog to chew more. Dog chews contain natural chew enzymes that maintain dental health for your dog. Most importantly your dog will love it! Consuming something delicious but cleaning its teeth at the same time? Yes please!  
  • Dental chew toys: Two great combinations; a toy that engages your dog actively and at the same time stimulates oral health. If only there was such an invention, oh wait! There is! Dental chew toys are a great way to stimulate chewing in order to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy. Some chew toys even have breath fresheners to cast away your dog’s bad breath. 

Frequently asked questions

1. How often should I see a vet? 

It is recommended to see a vet every six to twelve months for your dog’s dental health. Doing so well monitor your dog’s oral health and also teeth growth while also getting advice from your vet on what is best for your dog. By doing regular checkups, it can save money in the long run by preventing and predicting potential issues with your dog’s dental health.

2. How can I get plaque off my dog’s teeth?

The easiest way to get plaque off your dog’s teeth is consistent brushing. Over time, if you continue to brush your dog’s teeth or follow any of the methods discussed prior, plaque will generally decrease. Alternatively, there is another method in reducing your dog’s plaque by giving something called “Dental Fresh”. You combine this to your dog’s drinking water and it can prevent plaque and tartar buildup in hard to reach places. It is great for strengthening teeth, swollen gums, discolored teeth, bad breath, and it also whitens teeth at the same time. All perfectly safe to be consumed and combined with drinking water. Dental fresh is made from purified water and can be used daily. 

3. Is bad breath caused by an oral problem?

Bad breath is generally caused by a periodontal disease which is a disease that occurs near a tooth. Bacteria is the main cause of bad breath in your dog and the bacteria itself can be linked to a periodontal disease or gum infection. A visit to the vet to check would be most advised. 

4. Is age a variable in my dog’s oral disease? 

Age is not a factor in oral diseases. Every dog has different variables in plaque buildup in their mouths. Age, breed, and gender are not a determinant in oral diseases. Its diet however is more probable; consider giving your dog dry crunchy foods more than soft foods to reduce plaque buildup. 

The most optimal way to ensure your dog has a great oral health is to brush its teeth often while providing it with supporting options such as the dental treats, dental chews, dental chew toys, and dental fresh water. Also, don’t forget to switch in dry snacks more than soft liquid snacks to prevent plaque buildup. Once in a while, see the veterinarian to do a checkup just in case any other problems aise. Doing so will not only make your dog have a healthy mouth, but it will also make your dog have fresh breath and white teeth as well. A dog with a healthy mouth is a happy dog in general.

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