Dental Care And Oral Health For Your Dog
The teeth of dogs are very similar to humans to a certain extent, but there are many differences. In order to better maintain teeth cleaning and oral health for your dog, you must provide it with the right food, entertainment bones, or teeth cleaning sticks. This article focuses on how to do just that, hoping to be helpful for all our fellow dog owners.
Five facts about your dog teeth
Dogs, like humans, have two sets of teeth
The baby teeth of puppies are also called temporary teeth or molting teeth. Puppies change teeth when they are about 4 months old, and the adult teeth replace them. The first set of teeth will become loose, eventually fall out, and the roots will be absorbed into the gums. It takes about 6 months to complete the entire process.
Dogs have significantly more permanent teeth than humans
Interestingly, puppies have only 28 deciduous teeth, but adult dogs have 42 permanent teeth. In contrast, there are 32 for humans and 30 for cats. The adult teeth of a dog actually begin to form before birth, and when the baby teeth of a puppy fall off, it will grow to a designated position.
Dogs have the teeth of carnivores
The size and shape of dog teeth are very different from humans. Dogs have small incisors, which are the teeth located at the front of the mouth. The most conspicuous teeth in the front of the dog’s mouth are the large canine teeth. They are long and pointed, which are very suitable for grasping, lifting, biting, and can also be used for self-defense if necessary. At the back, there are huge cracked teeth, which are specially used to bite and cut food.
The roots of dog teeth are different from humans
The roots of dog teeth are very similar to humans, except that the three upper molars have two roots and the two lower molars have three roots. The root length of dog teeth is amazing. The teeth that you can see exposed on the gum surface are only about one-third of the length of the entire tooth, including the root. For incisors, the part that you find is only about a quarter of the length of the entire tooth, including the root.
Dogs hardly suffer from tooth decay
Few dogs have tooth decay, because not only do they not eat as much sugar as humans, but the types of bacteria that cause tooth decay are almost never found in the dog’s mouth. In addition, tooth decay is more likely to appear on the flat surface of the teeth, and dogs do not have flat teeth.
Four ways to maintain your dog’s oral health
Toys specially designed for dog teeth cleaning
Some dog toys are not only for fun but also to help dogs clean their mouths such as brushing balls. Chewing behavior is the most primitive toothbrush given to dogs by nature. Choose the kind of wear-resistant, mint-flavored toys for dogs to chew, which will be beneficial to scrape the tartar indicated by the dog’s teeth.
Snacks designed to reduce dog tartar and freshen breath
Those chewable snacks with low carbohydrate content and rough surfaces are good for the dog’s oral health. With the development of the pet industry, many related products can be found on the market. Some dog snacks that protect dental health and contain ingredients for fresh breath are developed and produced by manufacturers to solve the problem of dog tartar and bad breath.
Dog oral sprays, wet wipes, and water additives
These are also good choices to support the dog’s dental health. Although these products are not as fun as toys and snacks, and not as effective as brushing their teeth, they can be used as a supplement to the dog’s oral health. Long-term persistence is also very helpful to the dog’s oral health.
Provide low-carbohydrate foods for your dogs
Although some dog foods are nutritious and convenient, high carbohydrates frequently accumulate on the dog’s teeth and gums, which will produce tartar. If it is not cleaned, it will accumulate. The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to start with the dog’s diet and provide low carbohydrate food to the dog, which can reduce the production of dental plaque and also has a certain auxiliary effect on the dog’s oral health.
Professional dental cleaning for your dog
Before the oral examination and cleaning, your dog should undergo a physical examination and blood test to ensure that it can be safely anesthetized to complete the cleaning procedure. On the day of dog teeth cleaning, a sedative is injected into the dog and a tube is placed to keep the airway open so that oxygen and anesthetic gas can be injected into the dog’s body. In addition, intravenous catheters should be placed so that fluids and anesthetics can be properly infused throughout the process.
The benefits of general anesthesia and intubation for your dog include:
1. Anesthesia keeps your dog immobile, which can ensure its safety and cooperation in a confusing and stressful process.
2. Anesthesia can provide effective pain management during surgery
3. After anesthesia, the doctor can conduct a careful and comprehensive inspection of all surfaces in the dog’s mouth, and can also take digital X-rays, which is very necessary to solve the problem that is forming in the invisible gum area.
4. Anesthesia allows the veterinarian to perform necessary probe inspections and measurements below the dog’s gum line, where 60% or more of dental plaque and tartar accumulate.
5. Intubation during general anesthesia can protect the dog’s trachea and prevent inhalation of water and oral debris
6. After the dog is anesthetized, the doctor will use an ultrasonic cleaner to clean the dog teeth and a manual cleaner to clean the area under and around each tooth. The veterinarian will use a dental probe to measure the depth of the gum pocket around each tooth, and X-rays will be taken.
Once all the plaque and tartar have fallen off, the doctor will rinse the dog’s mouth and polish each tooth. The purpose of polishing is to smooth out any small grooves left on the teeth after cleaning so as not to attract more plaque and tartar. After polishing, the doctor will rinse the dog mouth again.
Five tips for dog dental cleaning and oral health
- Provide fresh foods with balanced nutrition, suitable for specific species. If possible, it is best to eat them raw. When your dog eats raw meat, you are actually using a natural toothbrush and dental floss.
- Providing recreational bones or fully digestible, high-quality dental cleaning sticks to help control dental plaque and tartar is necessary. Dental sticks are safer for dogs who have more chewing power or have undergone dental restoration surgery and cannot eat raw bones.
- It is best to stick to brushing dogs teeth every day. If you think the frequency of brushing your teeth every day is too high, you can reduce it to a few times a week. Spending a little time every day brushing dogs teeth can bring huge benefits to its oral health and overall health. If you fail to remove plaque from your dog’s teeth, it will gather and harden into tartar within a few days. Tartar adheres to the surface of the teeth and eventually irritates the gums. An irritated dog’s gums develop inflammation, and a disease called gingivitis. If the dog has gingivitis, the gums will be red instead of pink, and the breath will have a distinct smell. If the tartar is not removed, it will accumulate under the gums and eventually fall off the teeth. This creates a small cavity in the gum tissue, which becomes a warehouse for storing extra bacteria. At this stage, your pet has suffered from an irreversible disease, periodontitis, which can cause significant pain and may lead to abscesses, infections, loose teeth and bone loss.
- Regular oral inspections. You should open your dog’s mouth, observe the internal condition, feel for loose teeth around, or if there are unusual lumps or lumps above, below, around the gum line, and on the palate. After repeating these checks several times, you should be able to notice what has changed between the two checks. You should also record any odor differences in the dog’s breath that are not related to diet.
- It’s a good choice to appoint a veterinarian for regular oral examinations. The veterinarian will remind you of any existing or potential problems in your pet’s oral cavity. If necessary, the doctor will also recommend professional teeth cleaning under the dog’s anesthesia. If you are sufficiently vigilant about your dog’s dental home care, and there are no conditions that may cause tartar buildup or other oral problems, then it may never require professional dog dental cleaning by a vet. But if your pet has severe tartar buildup, severe gum inflammation, or oral infection, you may need additional help.
When the owner has not been able to solve the problem of brushing the dog’s teeth, you could consider the above aspects, which will help the oral health of your dog. Of course, if the owner can let the dog receive brushing teeth, this will be the simplest and most direct method of oral care.
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