Did you know February is Pet Dental Health Month? No matter what size or species your dog is, oral and dental hygiene is super important to keep on top of health problems. Brushing your dog's teeth is the best way to keep their mouth healthy from home.
Why is dog dental health important?
Just like humans, dogs can get plaque build-up on teeth which can cause gum problems, and much worse if left without action. When your dog eats, the food combines with saliva and bacteria and forms over their teeth.
If too much plaque builds up over time, it can cause tartar to form on your pooch’s teeth. This yellow-brown substance builds up above and below the gum line with nasty effects, including inflammation or redness.
Being aware and taking action when it comes to your dog’s oral health helps to prevent gum disease. If this condition is left untreated, your dog could end up losing teeth, or it could lead to other health problems.
How to spot dog dental problems
It’s vital that we keep an eye on our pups so that we can identify potential dental issues, including dental disease. You should look out for:
- Plaque or tartar build-up
- Bad breath
- Red or sore looking gums
- Bleeding gums
- Wobbly, broken, or missing teeth
- Excessive drooling
How to look after your dog’s oral health?
One of the best ways to ensure good oral health for your dog is to brush their teeth regularly. It’s the best way to keep their mouth healthy at home. Try to make time to clean your dog’s teeth every day, but if this isn’t possible, then aim for three or four days per week.
Most dog grooming salons will offer a teeth cleaning service as a standalone or add-on service. Normally, a dog groomer will use special brushes and toothpaste.
How to take care of your dog’s teeth at home
For both dogs and humans, teeth brushing is the foundation of good oral health. You can find specialised dog toothbrushes, as well as rubber thimbles which fit over your finger. These can be helpful when you need close control or to reach your dog’s back teeth. These can be coupled with specially flavoured, dog-friendly toothpaste or gels.
Try to introduce teeth cleaning to your pet as early as possible, ideally when they’re a puppy so they can get used to the brushing motion. Some dogs won’t feel comfortable at first but it’s important to integrate brushing into the routine, so they begin to feel relaxed.
Start by lifting up the side of your dog’s mouth and gently brush the teeth on the side. You should use a soft brush at first, with short motions so they stay calm. Then you can move onto the back teeth, making sure to be gentle throughout.
Another way to integrate dental care into your dog’s routine is through dental sticks and chews, or even toys.
As well as this, it’s important to schedule dental check-ups and examinations regularly. This also helps diagnose and spot conditions early so they can be treated.
Dog dental health products
There are a number of different products to help with your dog’s oral health routine. As mentioned dental sticks or chews can be introduced into your pooch’s diet. Why not check out some of our shop’s range, like Lily’s Kitchen dental chew packs?
If you’re looking for a cleaning set, toothbrush, and toothpaste, it’s a good idea to speak directly to your vet for recommendations.
Does pet insurance policy cover dental treatment?
Your pet insurance policy won’t normally include things like teeth cleaning or treatments such as scale and polish or other cosmetic dental treatments. Instead, you would have to pay additional fees for dental work to be included in a dog’s insurance policy. Even if the policy does include a degree of dental cover, it probably won’t cover every possibility. This would also include any pre-existing conditions which would need to be declared.
An insurance policy will often cover accidents that your dog might have, including breaking a tooth, or care of dental cavities. Always check the policy wording carefully before you buy so you know exactly what is and isn’t covered.
But remember, the best policy is always prevention, and sticking to a dedicated brushing schedule can really benefit your dog.