Let’s talk dental care! If there is one thing you could do for the overall health of your dog, it is take care of their teeth and gums. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is not only important for dental health but important for the overall health of your canine companion. Eighty percent, that is right 80%, of dogs develop dental disease by the age of three years old. Pet parents tend to overlook dental health more often than anything else when it comes to the health of their dogs. Poor dental hygiene can lead to bad breath, broken teeth, tooth loss, oral pain, and organ damage. Lack of brushing leads to plaque buildup. Bacteria in plaque can enter the bloodstream and spread to the heart, liver or kidneys creating alarming health issues. Poor dental hygiene is particularly problematic for frenchies and other small dog breeds since they often have overcrowded and misaligned teeth. This overcrowding can make the teeth difficult to clean and make them more prone to dental disease. What are the signs that your dog may have dental disease?
Signs of Dental Disease in Dogs
Some of the tell-tale signs that your dog may be developing dental disease are bad breath; large deposits on the teeth (usually yellow or brown in color); red, swollen, or bleeding gums; changes in eating or drinking habits such as refusing to eat or drink; broken teeth or tooth loss; and drooling. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to discuss the symptoms with your veterinarian and schedule an appointment for an examination.
What can we as dog parents do to prevent this from happening? Well, it is simple really. Brush their teeth every day just as you brush your own teeth every day. You may be saying, well it is not that simple since my dog hates brushing his teeth so I will give you some tips to help your dog get used to it.
Tips for Brushing Your Dogs Teeth
The first thing I always do when brushing my dogs’ teeth is let them smell and lick the toothpaste. Many times, this does the trick as they think they are getting some sort of treat. If the taste of the toothpaste is not enough to tempt them into liking the toothpaste, you can add something tasty to it such as tuna juice. Once you have let them lick a little, ease the toothbrush into their mouth and brush very gently making sure to positively reinforce the behavior. For tips on positive reinforcement, read this post: https://thefrenchiemamablog.com/2020/08/01/behavioral-modification-using-operant-conditioning-training-your-frenchie/
It is important to brush all teeth, however your focus should be on the outside surfaces particularly in the areas on the insides of the cheeks. These are the areas most prone to tartar buildup. Paleo pets has a great all natural tooth powder which I use regularly. Shop 100% Natural Dog Teeth Cleaner, Keep Your Dogs Teeth Healthy!
It is always best to get your dog accustomed to having their teeth brushed regularly, but what do you do if they absolutely will not let you brush? At the very least, you should provide them with dental treats such as these organic Minty Breath Bones or dental toys such as this Nylabone.
I hope this post helps you on your way to creating a dental hygiene routine for your dog. If you have any tips or tricks to help our fellow frenchie parents, please leave a comment.