Why is dog dental care important you ask? Well, it’s important to look after our dog’s teeth as much as we do our own because a healthy mouth is crucial to their everyday happiness.
Think about it, their mouths play a key role in virtually everything they do - whether playing with toys, grooming themselves or eating carefully prepared meals and treats, if they suffer from any form of dental discomfort all of those things could easily become less enjoyable.
Here are a few important reasons why oral hygiene matters and how we can all help our dogs stay happy and healthy from a puppy into their senior years.
Dog Dental Care: Getting to Know Your Dog
Here’s what happens from birth.
At two or three weeks old, a puppy’s first teeth should start to come through, leading to the teething stage. By around 12 weeks of age, a puppy will have their full set of 28 milk (also known as ‘deciduous’) teeth.
By 16 weeks, puppies will start to lose their milk teeth and like humans, their adult teeth will start to come through. By the time they reach 6-8 months old, all of their 42 adult teeth should be through with 20 on the top and 22 on the bottom.
A dog’s teeth should be creamy-white in colour with no build-up of plaque deposits and their gums should be pink.
Some dogs, such as the Chow Chow and the Shar-Pei, will have black pigmentation on their tongue and others may have some black pigment on the gums.
Dog Dental Care Products
Dental chews and diet have some effect in reducing plaque, which when hardened can turn to tartar, and as with most things in life, prevention is better than cure.
So here are the four best ways to keep your dog’s teeth, gums and breath in tip-top shape.
1. Brush your dog’s teeth daily
Using a dog toothbrush (if you own a small dog, a child’s toothbrush is best, if you own a medium-large dog, an adult toothbrush is fine) and a specialist doggy toothpaste (human toothpastes include harmful chemicals), get your dog used to the smell and texture of the brush and toothpaste, to make daily cleaning easy peasy.
This article on how to clean your dog’s teeth is well worth reading for more advice on how to get your dog used to the practice.
2. Use chew toys and treats
Alongside daily cleaning, find fun things like rope toys or dental chew treats, such as Pedigree® DentaStix Twice Weekly™ which is scientifically proven to help reduce tartar build-up and helps keep your dog's teeth and gums healthy and strong.
Make sure you choose toys or dental chew treats suited to your dog’s breed and size for maximum benefits.
3. Regular check-ups
It’s also worth setting in place regular visits to your vet or vet nurse for a dental check-up every six months, so should any problems develop, your vet or vet nurse will be able to spot quickly. Luckily my own dog Scarlett hasn’t had any problems, but I’d always rather err on the side of caution for safety.