It's never too soon to start thinking about your puppy's dental care. Oral hygiene is an often-overlooked component of your puppy's overall health. As your puppy grows older, dental issues can develop if the proper care isn't provided. Many times, dogs will suffer dental pain without their loving pet owners knowing. Dogs will often go out of their way to hide pain from their owners, and that's especially true with dental issues. If your puppy has a toothache or sore gums, he's dealing with pain and stress that you may not even know about. Untreated dental issues can lead to bacteria being introduced into the bloodstream to the detriment to other areas of your puppy's body.
Unfortunately, dental issues for dogs are very common. Veterinarians report that about 85 percent of dogs over the age four are suffering from some form of gum disease. However, almost all of these nasty issues can be prevented with regular dental cleanings and professional checkups.
How to Tell if Your Puppy Has Dental Disease
Good news, you don't need to got to veterinary school to detect that your puppy has dental issues. Many of the dental issues that your pup can suffer from can be observed using your sensory skills. A common gum condition for both human and canines is halitosis, which causes bad breath. If you notice your puppy has developed bad breath, you should go visit your vet and have them mouth looked at. Another visual cue that dental disease may be at play is if your puppy has a yellowish buildup on their teeth and gums.
Other signs of canine periodontal disease include:
- Loose teeth
- Lack of appetite
- Difficulty chewing
- Bleeding gums
- Pawing at the mouth
As a dog owner, you should monitor your canine for potential dental conditions. However, it's also important to realize that some periodontal disease may not be visible to even the most experienced observer. Consequently, a complete periodontal examination - including dental X-rays - may be necessary to uncover particular dental issues. It's always a good idea to schedule an annual oral exam with your vet for you puppy.
How Do I Keep my Puppies Teeth Healthy?
Like daily walks for exercise, proper dental care should be a regular part of your routine as a puppy owners. By taking some steps at home with your puppy and working with your puppy's vet, you can set your puppy up for a long and healthy life.
During your puppy's annual dental exam, a veterinarian will examine your dog's teeth and gums in much the same way that a dentist looks at yours. The examination will include a visual and manual inspection to check for signs of gum disease, tooth discoloration, loose teeth, and indications of sensitivity or pain. Typically, your veterinarian will clean your dog's teeth if there is a buildup of tartar or plaque. Your vet will probably recommend removing loose teeth and advise either removal or a root canal procedure if there's tooth decay. Depending on the nature of the procedure, your dog may need to be immobilized using anesthetics.
How to Brush Your Puppy's Teeth
Many pet owners are hesitant to brush their puppy's teeth themselves. However, tooth brushing is the single most important part of oral care and cannot be overemphasized. If you aren't comfortable doing it yourself, that's totally fine. Just make sure you schedule for someone to do it as your puppy's oral hygiene depends on it. If you're are comfortable brushing your puppy's teeth, and your puppy allows it, brushing yourself can save you money. The more you brush the better, but try to aim for at least once a week. Here are guidelines to follow for brushing your puppy's teeth:
- Brushing should be done with a brush designed to remove plaque from under the gum line.
- Pick a time of day that will become a convenient part of you and your puppy's daily, or weekly, routine. Brushing before receipt of a treat can help your canine actually look forward to brushing time.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and veterinary toothpaste. Don't use toothpaste that is designed for humans.
- Start by offering your dog a taste of the veterinary toothpaste. Then, next time, have him taste the toothpaste, running your finger along the gums of his upper teeth. Repeat the process with a toothbrush until your canine develops a comfort level.
How Pet Insurance Helps Keep Your Puppy's Mouth Healthy
It's imperative that a puppy owner pays attention to the dental health of their puppy. By making dental care a regular part of your puppy's routine, you are setting your puppy up for a healthy life. Another way to keep your puppy healthy is by getting them pet insurance. Having a puppy can get expensive. Vaccinations, spaying and neutering, dental exams, the prices can add up in a hurry. However, if your puppy has pet insurance, the steep cost of providing your puppy with the best veterinary and dental care available is made easier for you. Learn how having pet insurance can take the financial stress out of taking your puppy to the vet.