Dental Care for Dogs

Dental problems in dogs range from gum diseases to craniomandibular osteopathy. If proper dental care is provided, these, and other such gum and teeth diseases, can easily be prevented.
DogAppy Staff
Chewing hard objects may damage your dog's teeth. Sugary treats cause cavities in their teeth. Pet dogs sometimes get frustrated and bored, and start chewing on fences that cause ridge-like wear and tear on their teeth. In dogs, dental problems exist in plenty, but often get ignored as the owner is unaware of the symptoms of these problems. As we move on with this write-up, we will put forth information on some of the most common dental health problems that affect canines.

Dental Problems and Treatment

Dental Plaque Formation
Plaque formation occurs due to the deposition of bacteria and food particles in between teeth. Plaque remains soft at first and then gradually becomes hard, eventually turning brown in color. The brown plaque formation is called tartar. If not taken care of, tartar affects the gingival tissues (gums) and causes infection. The gums start swelling and the gum area becomes red. As a result, the tooth starts decaying and falls off. Dental cleaning is therefore a must for dogs to remove the stains and layers of plaque caused above and below the gum lines. Massaging the gums slowly with a tooth cloth and using mouth rinse can help keep this problem at bay. Oral rinses which contain chlorhexidin help reduce the bacterial infection in gums and formation of plaque.

Bad Breath
Bad breath in dogs is observed depending on the food they consume. Bacterial infection in gums leads to periodontal diseases in dogs. Bad breath, called halitosis, may occur due to such infections. It is necessary that a dog's teeth are brushed regularly. Dogs usually prefer the taste of meat flavored toothpaste. You can try C.E.T. poultry flavored toothpaste to brush your pet's teeth. Brush their teeth in a slow and circular motion along the gum lines. If their teeth are not brushed properly, then the bacteria present in gums move to the bloodstream and cause diseases that affect the other organs of the body. Antibiotics may be administered to prevent further infections, but only after consulting a veterinarian. Sometimes, behavioral changes are also seen in affected dogs.

Gum Diseases
Gum stimulation is mandatory to prevent gum diseases in canines. Proper dog food and dog biscuits are useful as they prevent the formation of tartar in dogs and scrape the teeth to remove food particles and keep them clean. Dogs should be provided with dental chews, which are found in pet stores. These chews don't just improve chewing in dogs, but also promote gum stimulation.

Craniomandibular Osteopathy
This disorder is seen in young dogs where there is an elongation of bones in the mandibles and in temporal regions. It is usually seen in dogs aged below one year. This disorder causes excessive pain in the jaw. Dogs face difficulty in moving the jaw while chewing and eating. They drool and start losing weight. This can be treated with painkillers, like cortisone and aspirin. It is always better to consult a veterinarian before giving any medication to your dog.

Tooth Scaling and Polishing

Canine dental cleaning is done by an expert veterinarian. The procedure includes pre-anesthesia blood tests, tooth scaling, and tooth polishing. Pre-anesthesia blood tests are done to check whether other organs of the body are functioning properly or not. General anesthesia is given at times depending on the condition of the tooth. Tooth scaling is done to remove brown scales and tartar accumulation. This process requires ultrasonic cleaning instruments. Tooth polishing is done to prevent plaque build up along the gum lines.

Home Remedies

Special dog foods and toys can be bought from pet stores and given as a part of dental care regimen. Similarly, special kind of toothpaste, toothbrushes, and dental wipes should be used to remove the loosely attached food particles from their teeth. Never try to apply human toothpaste on their teeth, as human toothpaste contains sodium that will adversely affect a dog's teeth. It is always good to consult a veterinarian.

Digestible pork hide bones can also be used for cleaning their teeth. Gourmet dental treats, which contain phosphorus and calcium, can be used to enhance their dental hygiene. These treats strengthen their teeth as well as bones. And lastly, herbal treats that contains parsley leaves can be given for freshening their breath.