Dogs are more than just pets. Apart from being great companions, they warn us of impending danger and also protect us from intruders and wild animals.
Thus it is important to keep them healthy by taking good care of them. Tooth decay is one of the most problematic health issues that they experience.
If the right measures are not taken to prevent or treat it then it can develop into serious complications that disrupt their normal routine.
Below are a few things that you should know about the topic. You can also look at this link to get more information.
What are the causes?
As in humans, the number one cause is lack of brushing. Some people rarely brush their dog’s teeth while others don't even know that they are supposed to do so.
Failure to do so leads to the accumulation of food remains that forms plaques and tartars. This results in bacteria producing enzymes that wear off the teeth enamel and also causes other infections such as gum diseases.
The other cause is poor diet. They should be fed a healthy diet consisting mainly of chewable bones and meat. These do not stick on the tooth surface as much as artificial foods hence minimize plaque formation.
The chewing action also removes some of the food remains from previous meals thus reducing accumulation. See this link to read more about tooth problems in dogs https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/features/dogs-teeth-toothaches-problems#1
What are the effects?
These vary depending on the extent of the decay. At the initial stages, the effects include teeth coloration and bad breath. These might go unnoticeable since the dog is still able to go about its daily activities without any pain or difficulty.
The middle stages are marked by pain as the worn-out tissue exposes sensitive nerves. This might change their eating behaviors, characterized by localized chewing which is one-sided and accompanied by wincing and strange sounds. The final stage is tooth loss and bleeding gums.
How can these be prevented or treated?
The most basic means of prevention is regular brushing to remove the food remains and sticky plaque. This is done using special paste and toothbrush designed for dogs. Others include:
- Healthy diet
As mentioned earlier, the regular diet should be made up of food that does not stick on the surfaces and should also be easily removable by natural mechanisms such as chewing and tongue movement. Bones and chewy meat fall in this category. Opt for natural foodstuffs.
- Regular checkups
They should be taken to oral specialists after regular intervals, for instance, after every six months or a year for dental checkups. This ensures that infections and other issues are treated before they worsen.
- Use supplements
These contain a lot of beneficial properties that help fight bacteria that cause decay. Ozone water and oils, for example, are antibacterial and can also be used to treat mild cases. The water can be used for both drinking and as a mouthwash.
- Chewy toys
Dogs are playful, especially puppies. Thus giving them a toy that incorporates chewing to play with is a good idea. It exercises the jaws and helps remove plaque hence ensuring dental hygiene. Avoid giving the toys to those that are already experiencing adverse effects such as inflammation as they can cause irritation.
- Aloe Vera
The aloe vera extract can be used as a homemade remedy for tooth and gum diseases characterized by pain. It has both medicinal and soothing properties. At times it is mixed with other compounds such as hydrogen peroxide. Only use the extract and not the whole leaf. Piece of advice, the taste is not pleasing hence it should be used in small amounts and after meals.
This can be found in drugstores. It should be used sparingly and in low concentrations. It comes both as a mouthwash solution used for rinsing and an oral spray. Click here to see how you can tell when your dog is having a toothache and how you can help.
Observing dental hygiene will go a long way in ensuring your dog’s oral health and saving you all those trips and money to the vet. It is as simple as implementing regular brushing and a healthy diet. Minimize the usage of artificial products as some have side effects when used for long. Go for natural ones whenever possible. Also bear in mind that some breeds are more susceptible to tooth decay than others hence require extra care. Watch what they eat.
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