Although word-of-mouth says that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s, your vet knows that it doesn’t omit your furry friends from practicing proper oral/dental hygiene. In fact, your pup’s dental health is more important than you think. A simple case of bad breath can certainly lead to major issues affecting the organs if not properly cared for or maintained. For National Pet Dental Health Month, we’re highlighting how to maintain your four-legged family member’s dental health, as well as identify less-obvious markers that could point to dental issues.
To start, prevention is key. This is why it is of utmost importance to ensure you’re maintaining your dog’s oral health consistently between checkups. What you really want to prevent, or look out for, is a build-up of plaque and tartar - just like humans. And much like humans, the best way to prevent that build-up is regular teeth brushing. For dogs, there are a lot of options out there aside from the dog-version of a toothbrush and toothpaste. Although it may be the most cost-effective route, it may not best suit the temperament of your pupper. Some great alternatives to toothbrushing for your canines are dental chews and gels.
There are instances, however, where prevention is no longer a viable option. You should do your best, but we understand that things happen. Perhaps you have a rescue dog that didn’t have its dental health well-maintained – there are tons of different circumstances and we don’t judge! However, as your dog ages, their oral health won’t stay perfect. This is why it’s also important to keep an eye out for things that may be going wrong.
Some things to look out for as it relates to identifiers that your pup may have a dental issue, aside from your run-of-the-mill case of bad breath, are:
- Your dog starts to chew abnormally, drool more than usual, or if they start to frequently “miss their mouth” when they eat/drop their food.
- Changes to their appetite (they’re no longer interested in food, or they stop eating completely)
- If they are sore to the touch in any of the areas around their mouth, especially their head
- If you notice they are bleeding or swelling from any areas of the mouth, or blood on their chew toys
- They “talk” or make noises when they eat/yawn
- Frequent sneezing or excess discharge from nasal cavities
Much like your own dental health, your dog’s dental health should be prioritized as well. We hope this keeps you informed and your furry best friends happy and healthy!