All dog-owners know that proper nutrition is very important, but not so many are aware of the importance of dental care. Dogs use their teeth not only for eating but for many other purposes too, for instance, playing. This is whyprotecting those teeth is particularly important.
Dogs are carnivores, and their dental setup reflects that fact. Of the 42 teeth, 20 are in the upper while 22 are in the lower jaw.
It is very important to take care of dental health from puppy age!
Puppies chew everything instinctively, and if we do not provide something for them to chew, they will chew anything they find at home. Trying to teach a puppy not to chew for that reason will result in deteriorating oral health because this way teeth will not have sufficient cleaning . Tinned food, moist and soft food gets caught between the teeth, creating a thick plaque that is a breeding ground for oral bacteria.
After eating, minerals are deposited in the plaque, resulting in tartar. Tartar under the gums causes periodontal disease, while the bacteria in it cause gingivitis. In protracted cases, periodontal disease results in the loosening and eventual loss of the tooth. Dogs with tartar salivate a lot, eat slowly, find it difficult to chew and hence they do not like to chew, and often reject foods with chunks or dry foods. In such cases, the unpleasant odour of the dog’s mouth can be symptom. As tartar can only be removed under anaesthesia, using an ultrasound device, prevention is important.
Make sure your pet has something to chew on. Contrary to popular belief, bones are not really suitable for this, as the teeth become worn too quickly, opening up the root canal, leading to an infection with severe symptoms. Instead of bones, use chewy toys made from animal leather or other edible materials. The latest products do not only clean the teeth mechanically, they also contain enzymes to prevent the formation of tartar. In addition, there are some treats and foods that are structured so as to remove plaque from the surface of teeth.
Another method for preventing tartar is washing teeth, which should be started when the dog is still a puppy, as at that time they find it easier to get used to the procedure. It is best to wait until the dog is 7-8 months old, as by that time, all the permanent teeth are in place. Dogs with inflamed gums, tartar of other oral problems should not have their teeth washed! Have the problem treated by your vet, including the removal of tartar.
If you are unable to get your dog to chew enough and you cannot wash its teeth, you can still use various enzyme-containing products. They are available in tablet and powder form, to be mixed in with dog food, or as a liquid to be added to the dog’s water. Naturally, the most important thing is to have your dog examined by a vet once a year.