February is Dental Health Month! Time to talk about your dog's mouth.
Poor dental hygiene in pets is more serious than most pet owners realize. Roughly 70-80 percent of cats and dogs develop periodontal disease by the time they are three years old. That’s a significant figure, especially, since poor oral hygiene is also linked to shorter life span and is completely avoidable!
Raw meaty bones are an excellent way to keep your dogs mouth healthy. Bones have been a staple food for dogs for centuries. But most dogs these days rarely get a real raw bone. This is primarily due to concern over bacteria. Dogs don't cook their food in the wild, they are made to digest raw food. As long as you the owner practice safe food handling this should be an non issue. In addition to the nutrition, raw meaty bones help develop strong muscles as they pull and tear the meat off the bone. It keeps the dog mentally stimulated, chewing the bone rather than your favorite pair of shoes. The chewing of the bone after the meat is gone cleans away tartar and freshens breath without the need for human intervention. My 6 year old ridgeback has been getting a meaty bone once a week since she was a pup. My vet is amazed at her teeth, he says she has the mouth of a 2 year old! Plus your dog will LOVE bone day and it's way cheaper than dental surgery!
If you are still not convinced about the "raw" thing, start making tooth brushing a weekly routine. This can be challenging with an older animal that is not used to it. Tooth brushing habits should start early, using a finger tooth brush to wipe the teeth, so the pet gets used to activity then graduate to a tooth brush.
In older dogs or if your pet refuses brushing, some products which can be added to the pet’s food or water may be effective in reducing plaque build-up and freshen breath. Tartar Busters or certain biscuits can also be a good way to combat poor oral hygiene because they also help the teeth shed plaque build up.
Lets avoid the symptoms below and start to take our dog's oral hygiene seriously!
If you do notice any of these symptoms it may be time for a dental check up.
Symptoms of Gum Disease in Dogs;
*The most common symptom is abnormally bad breath.
*The next most common symptom is difficulty chewing and eating
*The color of gums change to red.
*The dog can suffer from intestinal and stomach upset due to the presence of bacteria.
*The teeth have become loose or fall out.
*You observe your dog pawing at the mouth.
*You observe a sudden and abrupt change in the dogs behavior. May tend to be nervous or depressed.