Spotting Animal Health Issues Early

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Dental Health Tips For Your Dog

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Your dog's dental health can be easy to overlook. A dog may not show any discomfort until the problem is severe. This means by the time you know your dog has issues it may be too late — decay and gum disease may have spread throughout your pet's mouth. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure your dog's teeth and gums remain healthy. This can improve your dog's quality of life and save you money at the vet in the future.

Tip #1: Get the right treats

Not all dog treats are made equally. Many have added sugars and other ingredients that can coat teeth and actually speed decay. When choosing treats, read the ingredients. Avoid any that use sugars or syrups as a binder or flavoring ingredient. You can even find dog treats designed to help dental health by providing needed nutrients for healthy teeth as well as containing fibrous ingredients that help clean teeth. A new dog chew is also a great non-food treat item for your pup. Look for chews designed to help clean teeth, since these provide a treat, help stave off puppy boredom, and help improve the dental health of your dog.

Tip #2: Start brushing

Brushing your dog's teeth at home is one of the best choices you can make for the future of your pup's dental health. Get a toothbrush designed for a dog's mouth to ensure comfort and good reach. There are handled versions as well as brushes that fit over your fingertip, so experiment to find the best one for you and your dog. Also, skip human toothpaste and purchase a tube of paste designed for dog use. Once-weekly brushing is sufficient. If you start when your dog is a puppy, the process is simple and can be integrated into normal puppy training. For older dogs, be patient and start slowly. Reward your dog after a brushing session so they come to associate this weekly task with good things.

Tip #3: Visit your vet

Part of any annual vet visit should include a full dental assessment. Your vet needs to check to ensure that teeth and gums are healthy, and then clean the teeth to remove any plaque that home brushing has missed. If your dog doesn't do well for these visits, consider full or partial anesthesia as opposed to skipping dental care entirely. Your vet can also provide you with tips to improve your dental hygiene care at home, which will help lessen the stress of future professional cleanings.

For more help, contact a vet in your area or visit websites like