Dental - Taking Care of Your Pup's Pearly Whites
Basic Care and Maintenance for Your Dog's Teeth
Many people do not realize the importance of caring for their dog's teeth. As dogs age,
the need for dental care increases. The best way to ensure proper dental health for your dog is to start while
they are very young.
Many dogs do not like their mouths touched. It is important for you as a dog owner to desensitize them to being
handled like this at a very young age. The veterinarian is always going to need to examine your dog's mouth and you
do not want to have problems with this. The best way for you to get your dog used to having his mouth touched is to
begin touching it when you first get your pup. Make sure to touch the lips, open the mouth, and touch the teeth in
a calm and relaxing way for about five minutes each day until your pup is used to being handled in this way. Make
this a regular part of your interaction with your dog so he remains calm when you are doing any kind of preventive
Most veterinarians recommend brushing your dog's teeth daily. Many
manufacturers make special toothpaste and brushes for dogs. You do not ever want to use human toothpaste on
dogs as it may be harmful to them. To get your dog used to having his teeth brushed, you may want to start by
putting a dab of dog toothpaste on a cotton ball and rubbing it over his teeth. Toothpaste for dogs is usually
quite tasty to them, so they shouldn't mind this. You can then try a finger toothbrush, available at your
veterinarian's office or pet supply store. Eventually, especially for larger breeds, you will want to graduate
to a regular dog toothbrush. Regular brushing will help prevent the buildup of calculus and debris on your
Another way to help prevent calculus and buildup on your dog's teeth is by using rawhide chews specially formulated
for dental care. Many companies manufacture these chews which are formulated with an enzyme that helps keep plaque
from forming and prevents the buildup of bacteria. Also, the natural abrasion of rawhide chews helps keep teeth
healthy. You can also find a chew that contains chlorhexadine which has antimicrobial properties.
You can also use tooth wipes & gum cleansers or even floss rope toys to aid in daily dental care.
Even with proper preventive measures, most dogs will eventually need a dental cleaning from your veterinarian. If
your veterinarian recommends a dental cleaning, it is important that you follow through. If your dog develops
dental disease, harmful bacteria can pass through into the bloodstream causing potentially serious problems such as
kidney infections and infections involving the heart valves.
A dental cleaning performed by your veterinarian is much like a human dental cleaning, however your dog will need
to be sedated. The anesthesia is light and with today's technology is extremely safe. Many veterinarians have
anesthesia monitoring systems just like those used in human medicine. A thorough exam will be performed to
determine if any teeth need to be pulled or repaired. Some veterinarians will do x-rays of the teeth to find any
cracks or diseased teeth. After this, a trained member of the veterinary staff will perform a dental cleaning.
First, they will scale the teeth to remove the tartar above and below the gum line. This will be done with both
hand instruments and ultrasonic scaling equipment. After this, the teeth will be polished, which will make them
smooth and help prevent plaque from adhering to them. Most veterinarians will also do a fluoride treatment. This is
to help strengthen the enamel and prevent plaque from forming. If any teeth are diseased or broken, your
veterinarian may pull them. Some veterinarians who specialize in dental care will perform root canals and other
intensive dental work. Most veterinarians will put your dog on a treatment of antibiotics to help prevent bacterial
It is very important to take good care of your dog's teeth to keep them healthy and to prevent infections. Always
follow your veterinarian's advice and if you have further questions, consult your veterinary staff or pet
by Deanna Raeke