Dental disease is extremely common in dogs, with studies estimating that 80% of canines over 3 years of age suffer with it to some extent.
However, serious dental problems are preventable if you brush your dog’s teeth frequently – ideally on a daily basis.
And if you’re unsure how to do it, or have concerns, you can book a free dental hygiene check with a skilled vet nurse in Andover to get advice and make sure there are no severe issues.
Why it’s important to look after your dog’s teeth
If your dog’s teeth aren’t brushed regularly, plaque and tartar can accumulate. These substances are filled with bacteria which causes bad breath, inflammation and infection.
Serious infections can lead to irreversible destruction of the structures supporting the teeth, including the jaw bone, which creates chronic pain and some teeth may even fall out.
Worryingly, if bacteria and toxins reach the bloodstream, they can settle on heart valves or in organs such as the liver, causing life-threatening problems.
So just think: you could avoid all this simply by introducing your pet to a toothbrush on a regular basis. You can also use chews, gels, water additives and special diets to help keep your dog’s mouth healthy.
How to brush your dog’s teeth
At Strathmore Veterinary Clinic you can watch a nurse demonstrate by booking a dental check with us, but in the meantime, here are our top tips for getting started:
- Products to buy – Finger brushes and other specialist tools are available; and dog toothpastes come in a variety of flavours. Never use human toothpastes, as they contain ingredients that can be harmful to dogs.
- Taste – You need to get your dog used to dog toothpaste, so start by putting a bit on your finger for them to lick off.
- Feel – Run your finger around the gum line and teeth, so your dog knows what to expect inside their mouth.
- Texture – Let your pet lick toothpaste off the dog toothbrush, so they know what it feels like.
- Angle and time – Once your dog seems comfortable with the first three steps, place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle from the gum line and brush for five minutes (maximum).
Even if your dog’s teeth seem healthy, an annual check with a nurse is recommended and nurse checks are free, so please give us a call on 01264 352323 if you’d like to arrange one.