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Top Ten Tips for Your Dog’s Oral Health

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

You probably have most things covered for your dog’s health: regular exercise and good nutrition, for example.

But what about man’s best friends’ teeth and gums?

We decided to have a little fun and bring you the top 10 ways you can make sure your dog has as healthy mouth in 2013:

1. Know the signs of when there could be a problem. Part of making sure your dog has a healthy mouth is being educated about the symptoms of oral disease: bad breath, more drooling than normal, and inflamed gums. Another indicator could be only chewing on one side of their mouth.

2. Think about a massage… Never brushed your dog’s teeth before? Get her comfortable with the idea of brushing by first massaging her lips with your finger. After doing that for up to a minute, once a day, it will be easier to use a real (dog) toothbrush after about a month.

3. Broken tooth? It’s good you are checking! This is a case where you should most likely visit your vet. It’s usually hard for those of us who aren’t doctors to know how to proceed. The options include doing nothing if there is no harm to the dog, the tooth may be extracted, or in some situations, they may need a root canal.

4. Brush up! When dogs get their teeth cleaned professionally, it will often times require anesthesia. But at home you can brush her teeth around twice a month. Step one is getting a toothpaste made for dogs–not the human kind, which can’t be ingested! Never brushed a dog’s teeth before? For your next steps, visit this informative link.

5. Regularly check your dog’s gums. This could require two people in some cases. The key is to lift her lips and examine all her gums. You are looking for healthy gums: pink, versus white or red.

6. Regularly check your dog’s breath. You’ve probably gotten a smell before, and that’s a good baseline. If it’s much worse than normal–which isn’t ever too great, anyway– you know there could be a problem.

7. The not-so-great news… Maybe you see that your dog has bleeding, red or swollen gums. This is one of the top reasons you need to head to your dog’s dentist.

8. …But there is some good news. Even if your canine has red and swollen gums, the beginning signs of periodontal disease, just like with us humans, you can reverse the damage at this stage. With that said, knowing how big of a difference you can make in your dog’s health NOW should motivate you to make the small changes to their oral health and lifestyle so they stay disease-free.

9. Chew toys. Chew toys are not only great to deal with their need to chew, but chew toys can also help make teeth strong. Did you know you can also buy toys that can help combat tarter? Look for toxin-free toys that are nylon or rubber — but ask your vet first.

10. Double check the food! You might already have nutritious meal plans for your dog, but did you know you can also get dry food for your dog that helps slow down plaque and tartar buildup? This might be especially helpful if your dog already has a bit of mouth-related issues. It’s not just her weight that’s affected by those extra treats—it can also be the health of her mouth.

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