The Importance of Canine
Dental Care

Canine dental care is an area often overlooked by owners yet is such an important part of your dog's overall health and well-being. It’s important to understand the significance of canine dental care and see it as part of your dog’s everyday routine just as you would take care of your own dental and oral hygiene. Without a dental routine, your dog risks developing dental disease. 

By the age of 3, over 80% of dogs have some form of dental disease, a huge number I’m sure most people would agree. Dental disease can have serious consequences if not treated, so taking steps to prevent it is very important. As the age-old saying goes, prevention is better than cure.

What is Dental Disease? 

Dental disease affects your dog’s teeth, gums and structures that support a dog’s teeth. It begins with plaque buildup on the teeth, which contains bacteria and food particles.

If plaque isn’t removed, it starts to turn a yellow/brown colour and hardens into something called tartar. Tartar can form both above and below the gumline. Your vet can remove tartar but this usually involves being put under general anaesthetic, which is always a risk in itself. 

A set of beautiful white teeth doesn't always mean that your dog's mouth is healthy. Tartar that makes its way below the gumline where you can’t see is a real problem. It can cause inflammation and damage to the structures that support the teeth and can cause nasty infections.

Signs of canine dental disease can manifest in several ways, often multiple ways for your dog. These symptoms can include bad breath, bleeding gums, painful mouth and gums, broken or loose teeth, refusal or inability to eat or drink and drooling. In serious cases, it can cause organ damage or failure as the bacteria enters the bloodstream. If you notice any of these signs, individually or as multiple, you must take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.

Preventing Dental Disease

Thankfully, dental disease can be really easy to avoid with a few simple steps. 

Regular brushing, just like we do with our own teeth is the best way to remove plaque and prevent tartar build-up. Ideally, try to start brushing your dog’s teeth from an early age, however, it’s never too late. You can buy dog-specific toothbrushes, however, most children’s toothbrushes with soft bristles from the supermarket or pharmacy will do just fine. You can find a plethora of different dog toothpaste online, however, if you’re unsure which to buy, you can ask Lyn, Lynda or Shane at club classes. If you can, try to brush your four-legged friend's teeth every day, but if for any reason you can’t, 3 to 4 times a week is sufficient.

If you’re able, you can also invest in an Emmi-Pet ultrasonic toothbrush. They look and feel like a human electric toothbrush, however, they make absolutely no noise or vibrations when turned on and require zero brushing or scrubbing. They work by sending completely silent ultrasonic waves to the tooth which breaks down any existing plaque and prevents the formation of non-existent plaque. And the biggest benefit of an Emmi-Pet? No risky anaesthesia is required. We would always recommend you perform manual brushing as well as using an Emmi-Pet to ensure your dog’s dental hygiene is in tip-top condition.

Treats specifically designed to aid oral and dental health are also a great option, especially if your dog isn’t a fan of the toothbrush. We are particularly big fans of Fish4Dogs. Not only are their treats and dog food made by dog lovers for dog lovers, but their fish jerky dental treats are wonderful at removing plaque due to their rough texture. We’re particularly big fans of the Fish Tiddlers, and so are our Lhasa’s, Belgian Shepherds and Papillions.

Dental toys are also great to have in the house. Not only are they great for enhanced dental health, but they’re fantastic for enrichment and well-being too. Nylabone toys are usually a good option for ongoing gnawing and are usually great at standing the test of time. The knobblier the toy, the better. 

We know how important dental health is for ourselves, and take all the steps to ensure we have happy, healthy mouths. It’s just as important for our little best friends too, especially as they can’t tell us when they want their teeth cleaned!