Dental Hygiene For A Dogs Lifetime - From Puppies To Seniors
Dental hygiene is the cornerstone of your dog's wellbeing. From teething puppies to sensitive seniors, we’ve compiled the best dog dental care tips for a lifetime of happy smiles.
We’ll cover the fundamentals of cleaning, brushing, maintenance and the dog dental care kit that will keep those canines clean at any age.
Your dental hygiene journey begins when you bring your puppy home. And those little gnashers will need extra attention in the first few weeks.
Puppy Dental Hygiene
Starting a great dental routine is the ideal foundation for your puppy, setting them up for a long healthy life. Therefore, it’s ideal to handle their mouth and teeth as soon as possible, so that you can start getting a brush in there ASAP.
For young puppies, start by gently rubbing your puppy’s face and jawline, rewarding them for calm acceptance.
Move on to rubbing your finger gently along their gums.
Your pup will usually develop their adult teeth at around 6 months old, and once your pup is comfortable being handled and having their mouth inspected you can think about beginning a brushing routine.
For your brushing routine you’ll need some dog friendly toothpaste and a small finger brush.
To approach brushing, allow your pup to get comfortable with the finger brush exploring their mouth. Use lots of positive reinforcement to guide them.
Then, apply a small amount of the non-toxic toothpaste to the soft rubber finger brush and gently clean around their teeth and gums.
Don’t worry if there’s a lot of squirming to start with. Over time, your puppy will get more used to having their teeth cleaned and you’ll be able to get to those hard to reach areas.
As well as cleaning, puppies will also experience teething.
To help them relieve their sore gums you can provide them with a frozen Kong toy or other dog-safe chews.
Similarly, opting for training treats that are low in sugar is a great way to set puppies up for healthy teeth. Too much sugar can increase your pup’s risk of tooth decay.
Now is the time to form the habit of booking regular dental checks for your pup too. These are really useful, as they’ll help your vet identify any early signs of dental issues.
Mature Dog Dental Hygiene
Once your dog is all grown up, they can graduate from a finger brush onto a specially designed dog toothbrush. These help to really get into those crevices and keep those mature mouths extra clean.
How often should you brush your dog’s teeth? Ideally everyday. But realistically, most owners should aim for several times a week. This will absolutely make a difference to reducing your dog’s risk of nasty dental diseases.
Dry food can help remove plaque, due to its harder texture, so it may be preferable to wet food for your dog’s teeth. Check with your vet for their food recommendations and dental advice.
Using the occasional dental chew is a good way to stay on top of plaque build-up too. Just be sure to factor in those extra calories - so that any extra weight doesn’t creep on also.
Keep an eye on your pooch when they eat, as while dental problems are often really painful (like our toothache!) dogs sometimes don’t show outward signs of pain. This can make spotting a problem tricky. So be sure to keep those dental check ups too - for further inspection.
Senior Dog Dental Hygiene
Keeping up your dog’s dental routine is a great way to help them enjoy their senior years.
Older dogs may feel a little more sensitive around their mouth. So they might need to switch to a dental spray or dental wipes instead of your weekly brushing routine.
If you can, keep them engaged in gentle games of tug and war or softer chews. These can keep their jaw muscles strong and their teeth healthy for longer.
As your dog reaches a ripe old age, they may need more regular check ups - both at home and with their vet. Check your dog’s teeth and gums occasionally for anything out of the ordinary. See your vet if you notice any of the following:
Loss of appetite
Redness and swelling in the gums
Brown marks on teeth
Bleeding in the mouth or gums
Changes in breath odor - particularly any unpleasant smells
Excessive pawing or rubbing at the face
Reactive when touched around the mouth
These essential dental foundations can make all the difference to your dog’s quality of life. We’re sure they will thank you with some sloppy kisses too...
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