As with humans, regular dental care is crucial for dental health in dogs. Not all dog owners are aware of the risks of lack of dental care. Tartar and the resulting periodontitis, i.e. a bacterial infection of the tooth support system, are among the most common dog diseases and often develop at a young age.
Possible secondary diseases such as liver or kidney damage, pneumonia or an inflamed heart valve due to the spread of the infection can also have a significant negative impact on the dog’s health.
Regular dental care prevents bacterial plaque from forming in the mouth and diseases. This not only saves the cost of possible medical treatment, but also improves the animal’s quality of life in the long term.
Dental problems: consequences of poor dental care
Which dental problems dogs suffer depends, among other things, on the breed and age of the dogs and dental care. If there is a lack of hygiene in the oral cavity, painful inflammation of the gums or, in the case of periodontitis, the tooth retention device are almost always the result. Not only are missing measures for dental care responsible, but also the feeding habits of many animals, for example the predominant feeding of commercially available wet food, which promotes the formation of dental plaque. In addition, diseases in the oral cavity often go undetected for a long time. Here you can find more information about dental diseases in dogs.
In addition to periodontitis, gingivitis is the most common disease. This term refers to a gum infection caused by bacteria, which in many cases results in periodontitis if not treated. Small dog breeds are particularly affected by periodontal diseases, although there are individual differences in susceptibility here too.
Prevent dental problems in the dog
Dog owners can contribute to dental health through the choice of feed and the addition of chewing bones. In addition to commercially available chewing bones, large beef bones or raw carrots also serve this purpose, and can be given to the dog at regular intervals to gnaw on.
With fresh bones, however, it is essential to ensure that the dog only gnaws them and does not eat them. Excess bone can cause painful bone faeces and digestive problems. Bone splinters can also be dangerous. With leg disks, it can also happen that the dog pushes them over the jaw or tongue and then the bone has to be sawed up by the veterinarian.
Some dog toys, such as the Tooth Cleaner with dew, are specially designed to promote chewing activity and mechanical cleaning of the teeth. However, as with humans, regular tooth brushing is the most effective measure to permanently prevent diseases in the mouth.
Brushing teeth in dogs: how often should you brush your teeth?
In dogs, it is generally advised to brush the teeth at least three times a week, whereas if there is already gingivitis, brushing the teeth daily is necessary. For dog dental care, special dog toothpastes are available in flavors such as chicken or fish.
When choosing dog toothpaste, care should be taken to ensure that toothpaste does not contain any undesirable additives such as sugar or xylitol, which is toxic to dogs and is often found in toothpaste for humans. In principle, the dog’s teeth can also be cleaned without toothpaste, only with lukewarm water. Specialized dog toothbrushes are available in specialist shops, which are adapted to the teeth of different dog breeds in size and shape. Finger toothbrushes with rubber knobs are also suitable for getting used to.
It is important that you carefully get your dog used to brushing their teeth and that they do not link them to pain or discomfort. Therefore spread the daily training over several days and gradually brush a few more teeth. Start on the outside of your teeth, as this is usually easier for dogs to tolerate. When your dog is used to the new procedure, you can start brushing the inside of your teeth. You can also use double-headed toothbrushes available on the market, in which both the inside and outside can be cleaned at the same time. You should work particularly carefully in the area of the incisors, as many dogs are very sensitive at this point. It is advisable to familiarize the dog with brushing his teeth as early as the puppy age and thus to get him used to this necessary daily procedure in a playful manner.
In summary: dental care and brushing teeth in dogs
- Inadequate dental care can lead to serious dental diseases
- Feed dog food to support dental health
- Promote the chewing activity of your dog with suitable chewing bones
- Brush your dog’s teeth regularly
- Get your dog used to dental care
- Only use toothbrushes and toothpastes that are suitable for dogs
- Regularly present your dog to the veterinarian for a dental checkup
- Choose dog toys that promote chewing activity and mechanical cleaning of the teeth