Does your canine companion make you wince when he affectionately licks your face? Dogs aren’t known for having winter-fresh breath, but if Fido’s breath is really bad, dental issues could be to blame. Read on as an Emerson, NJ vet offers some advice on caring for your pet’s teeth.
Dogs can be afflicted by many different dental issues. One of the most common is gum disease, which affects a whopping 80 percent of pups over the age of three. Gum disease is painless at first, but as it progresses, it will eventually cause tooth shifting and loss. It’s also been associated with some very serious medical issues, such as heart disease and liver problems. Overcrowding is another common issue, particularly in small breeds. Some of the other problems we may see include abscesses, infections, and malocclusion. Cracked teeth are also not uncommon, which isn’t surprising given Fido’s love for playing with sticks.
Pay attention to your canine pal, and watch for indications that something is wrong. These include bad breath, as mentioned above, as well as swelling, bleeding gums, and visible swelling or tartar. Reduced interest in play is another red flag. You may also notice your four-legged friend taking longer eating, preferring softer foods, chewing on one side of his mouth, or dribbling food out of his mouth. Understandably, your pooch may also act grumpy or withdrawn, and may shy away from having his face touched. Contact your vet right away if you notice any of these warning signs.
There are some things you can do to help keep your pet’s mouth and teeth healthy. Brushing is likely the most effective, as it will clean off food particles before they turn into plaque, which, as we all know, hardens into tartar. Of course, you’ll need to get your canine buddy on board with the process. Plan to take some time with training! Start by just rubbing Fido’s teeth as you pet him. You can then start to incorporate pet toothpaste and finally, a doggy toothbrush. No luck? This isn’t the only option available. You can also use dental flakes, oral rinses, and dental-formula kibble, treats, or chews. Making sure that your furry friend has suitable chew toys and fresh water is also important.
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