|Yorkshire showing his teeth :)
Did you know plaque and tartar buildup is not only bad for us (people) but also bad for our pets, especially dogs! Puppy breath is nice until it develops into "doggie breath" which at that point becomes an annoyance for us. Just as we take care of our kids and our own oral health with toothbrushes and toothpaste, our pet's oral health is important too.
Most pet owners are probably not as attentive to their dogs oral health and hygiene, but our pet dog's teeth and gums need care, just like people's teeth. Recently increases in pet care products (including canine toothbrushes and toothpastes), which help makes taking care of our dog's oral health more readily accessible.
Young pups have 28 primary (baby) teeth; adult dogs have 42 permanent teeth. Majority of dogs exhibit signs and symptoms of gum disease by 3 years of age (or roughly 21 dog years) when all of their adult teeth have come in. Below are some signs of gums disease in dogs to watch for as our dogs mature in age:
GUM DISEASE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS IN DOGS
- Tartar buildup (looks like a dark yellow or dark black hard residue on the dog's teeth)
- Red, puffy, and bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Crowded teeth and malocclusion
- Not wanting to eat and weight loss
- Red discharge
- Atypical behavioral change
When one first starts brushing their dog's teeth, initially have the the dog smell and taste the toothpaste (some toothpastes are actually meat flavored!). Start brushing one side of the dog's teeth, and then brush the other side. Take frequent breaks if necessary. Also try to see if you notice any changes or discolorations in your pet's teeth and gums. Make it a fun bonding event!
Take your canine friend to the veterinarian at least once a year for a preventive exam and a dental cleaning (usually performed under general anesthesia) and be sure to inquire if the vet includes an assessment of your dog's oral health. If you have any questions on your dog's dental health please consult your family veterinarian. Woof!
From your friendly family dentist in Bellevue,
Peter Chien, DMD, MPH