Many dog owners do not consider oral hygiene of their animal as a priority. However, in view of the consequences that the accumulation of scale in the mouths of dogs, dental care is of major importance for the health of our furballs.
How does tartar form on dog teeth?
Calculus results from an interaction between different substances present in the oral cavity. With the remains of food, the saliva and the bacteria form a layer that adheres to tooth enamel. This layer is called tartar or dental plaque. This is first installed on the back teeth (molars, premolars) before attaching to the fangs. If no preventive action is taken, the mineral salts – in particular phosphate and calcium – deposited by saliva harden this plaque, then forming tartar. This fine yellowish film then offers a new adhesion surface for other bacteria, further attacking the dog’s mouth.
The consequences of dental tartar in dogs
The buildup of bacteria in your dog’s mouth can attack the gums and form pockets in which germs can develop and have several consequences on his health:
- A gingivitis (inflammation of the gum);
- Periodontitis (oral infection);
- Regression of the gums and jawbone, possibly destruction and fall of the tooth;
- A diffusion of microbes in the blood -which can then attach to different organs such as the heart where the kidneys – generates serious diseases in elderly animals, such as liver disease, heart or kidney failure;
- Poor oral hygiene is thus likely to affect the dog’s quality of life but also its longevity.
Symptoms of dental calculus in dogs
The dog’s mouth must be examined regularly. By inspecting his oral cavity and examining his behavior, some signs are telling:
- Bad breath of the dog;
- Enamel colored yellowish brown;
- Teeth adorned with brown edges;
- Red or swollen gums;
- Bleeding from the gums;
- Refusal of food (due to pain).
If you observe these symptoms in your animal, it is preferable to consult a veterinarian quickly.
When to start brushing your dog’s teeth?
To prevent dog dental disease, it will be necessary to integrate the brushing teeth in his daily care program. At first, your animal will find this handling unpleasant, so it is best to start earlier possible. Even if brushing is not essential when the puppy still has only its baby teeth (it will lose them between its 4 and 6 months), the fact of getting used to it young will facilitate its brushing afterwards. With a little practice, a dog adult will agree to have their teeth brushed, success relies on gentleness and patience. Some toothpastes appetizing will convince him!
How often do you brush your dog’s teeth?
Ideally, the dog’s teeth should be brushed everyday to ensure that the food remains are removed from its mouth. However, finding the necessary time is not always easy for dog owners. This is why a deep brushing of teeth done two to three times per week may be enough to keep your pet’s teeth healthy. At the beginning, the sessions should be short so as not to demotivate the dog, then it will be a question of gradually increasing the duration, until reaching 2 minutes.
Equipment needed for the dental care of his dog
To maintain good oral hygiene in your dog, you will need:
- A toothbrush special for dogs because the soft bristles make it easier to reach hard-to-reach teeth. Choose the size of the brush according to the template of your companion;
- A finger cot (rubber cap with rough edges to put on the finger);
- A toothpaste specific for dogs whose taste will please him (chicken, beef) and which does not require any rinsing. You can try different flavors to find your favorite. Under no circumstances should you use your toothpaste because it is unsuitable and toxic for your dog due to the presence of fluorine.
Technique for the dental care of his dog
To facilitate the operation, tooth brushing should be done in several steps :
- Wash your hands and check that your nails are cut short before any intervention;
- Pick the right time. For example, you can brush your dog’s teeth after a walk or a game session because it will be more calm and relaxed;
- Prepare the equipment (toothpaste, toothbrush, finger cot) before bringing it to you;
- Get your dog used to taste toothpaste. Put some on your finger and encourage your pet to lick it;
- Prepare your dog for brushing by first running your finger over his teeth using a finger cot and toothpaste. Stay in the animal’s mouth for a short time but repeat the exercise several times;
- Switch to brushing your teeth. To do this, gently lift the lips of your animal by putting the index finger and thumb on either side of its muzzle. In the beginning, don’t put too much emphasis on the more sensitive incisors and the more difficult to access back teeth;
- Operate gradually. In a few weeks, you will be able to clean all of its teeth. Make movements circulars on the external surface of the teeth, paying particular attention to the junction between the gum and the tooth (place of plaque formation). Brush his canines and incisors, not forgetting the back teeth (molars and premolars).
Descaling your dog at the vet
In the case of a large amount of tartar, brushing the teeth will become useless until the vet has descaled your pet’s teeth. The intervention takes place under General anaesthesia because the dog should not be agitated. The operation is performed using a device ultrasound which will take off the tartar blocks on the visible surface of the tooth (supragingival scaling) then the veterinarian removes the tartar present under the gums (subgingival scaling). If necessary, the withdrawal teeth in poor condition is practiced. Finally, a polishing of the teeth is carried out to remove the last pieces of tartar and make the enamel reappear. This method will remove the calcified dental plaque which causes inflammations. If the thought of general anesthesia bothers you, don’t wait for bacteria nests to develop on your dog’s teeth and start brushing today!