Doggy kisses and licks are probably the most rewarding things for a dog owner. These outbursts of affection from your dog make your heart grow fonder of him. But have there been times when you have been troubled by his bad breath? Or noticed his teeth aren’t the same old pearly whites they were as a puppy?
Canine oral care is often overlooked by dog owners. Your pet’s dental health is as important as his overall grooming and hygiene. A dog’s mouth is very sensitive and gives a veterinarian an indication about his health condition. If a dog’s teeth are not cleaned regularly, there could be a buildup of plaque, tartar and bacteria in his mouth. This bacteria can affect critical organs of the dog’s body such as the liver, heart or kidneys.
A majority of dogs suffer from periodontal issues once they cross the age of three. Therefore, it is extremely important for dog owners to be proactive about a dog’s oral health. A dog who has clean teeth and healthy gums is less likely to succumb to dental diseases and other related problems.
So, what can be done for keeping your dog’s mouth clean and healthy? The answer is quite simple and hassle-free. Let us break it down into four steps:
Step 1: Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
Like us, humans, dogs derive great benefits from regularly brushed teeth. As we all know, brushing keeps the teeth clean, massages the gums and removes any food particles stuck inside the dog’s mouth. Veterinarians’ advice that we must brush our dog’s teeth once a day, every day.
If you have never brushed your dog’s teeth, start by familiarizing him with the smell and taste of the toothpaste. Please use a canine toothpaste, since human toothpaste has chemicals, such as fluoride, which are poisonous for dogs. Once he gets used to the toothpaste, then introduce the toothbrush and slowly rub it on his teeth and gums. When you finish brushing, shower your dog with love and treats! It is important that brushing becomes a fun ritual for him and not something that he is scared of.
Step 2: Annual Dental Check-Ups
Take your dog to the vet, once every year, for a full-fledged dental checkup. Sometimes there might be problems deep inside the mouth which are not easily visible to us. A vet can perform a full cleaning and check-up to ensure there are no lumps on the gums or discolouration of teeth etc.
Step 3: Dental Treats
Most dog food brands have a separate list of products that are meant to be dental chews and treats. These products come in various flavours and sizes. They are specially designed to help in the upkeep of your dog’s oral health. They act as supplements to our step 1 i.e Brushing your dog’s teeth.
Step 4: Toys, toys and more toys!
This is the most fun step in our dental care program! It may sound slightly unbelievable but playing with specific dog toys can help in maintaining sparkling white teeth for your dog. Synthetic chew toys and fibre-based bones are the best toys for dental care. They provide a healthy outlet for your dog’s need to chew and keep his teeth in tip-top shape.
But frankly, the most interesting way to take care of your dog’s teeth is playing tug of war with rope toys! Rope toys are perfect for exercising a dog’s teeth and gums. When a dog is playing with a rope toy, he allows the rope to reach the innermost parts of his jaw and the game’s movements help in cleaning the teeth naturally.
Rope toys can be bought in stores or even made at home with easily available materials. Old t-shirts and socks are a mass favourite for making rope toys. Another option is tennis balls weaved together with strong ropes. Rope toys are fun and non-fussy if your dog is a strong chewer like mine is, then DIY rope toys are definitely a life saver.
Canine oral health plays a significant role in a dog’s life. Please do not take it lightly. With the right care and attention, your dog’s teeth will probably sparkle more than yours and his fresh breath might rival Ranveer’s close-up ads!