Dental care for dogs

Catching tennis balls, chewing sticks and munching on canine treats - our dogs' teeth go through a great deal on a daily basis.

However, when it comes to doggy dental care some owners aren't quite as vigilant as they should be and oral health can often take a backseat to other more enjoyable elements of pet care.

But with many pups in the UK suffering from gum disease and painful infections in their mouths, it seems that dog owners simply can't afford to neglect their four-legged friend's oral care if they want to raise a happy, healthy pooch.

And ensuring that your pet has a healthy set of gnashers isn't actually that hard if you know how and are prepared to put in a little time and effort.

Teeth brushing

Just as we brush our teeth on a daily basis, our dogs also need regular teeth cleaning to maintain a gleaming set of pearly whites.

Teeth brushing is a key component of dental care for dogs as it is the best way to remove plaque from your pet's teeth and to maintain healthy gums and beat bad breath.

This should ideally be done once a day from when your pooch is a puppy to prevent tartar and tar disease developing and causing problems, using toothpaste specially designed for dogs and a good quality human toothbrush if you don't have a doggy one.

Soak the toothbrush in warm water and then apply it to the teeth brushing in gentle, even movements with the brush head at a 45 degree angle in order to reach under the gum line where plaque may gather.

Some animals may be a little resistant at first but with a little time and effort most dogs will happily accept teeth brushing as part of their daily routine.

Doggy diet

In the same way that human diet affects the condition of our gnashers, the food you feed your pet can help them maintain a healthy mouth.

Certain types dry dog food are better for dogs' teeth than others so if you're worried about your pup's dental health, it may be worth switching to a brand such as Hills premium dog food, which offers prescription diets to promote good canine oral health.

Dog foods such as these have been especially developed nutritionists and veterinarians have formulated to keep your pet's teeth clean and to reduce plaque, stain and tartar buildup, as well as bad breath.

Veterinary care

Although much doggy dental care can be done at home, there may come a time when you need to call in the vet to take care of your pup's teeth.

Many owners are unaware that the buildup of plaque can lead to long-term serious oral health issues in dogs and has even been associated with other health conditions affecting the affecting the kidney, heart and metabolic systems.

Therefore, if you are concerned about your dog's teeth it is a good idea to visit the vet to check that your pet is not suffering from a serious dental problem.

Veterinary surgeon Marc Abraham says: "The top signs to look out for with potential dental problems is bad breath, caused by bacteria, plaque, tartar building up in the mouth, drooling, sometimes with a bit of blood in it, wobbly teeth, reluctance to chew toys or to eat food properly and general dullness and lethargy."

At the surgery your vet can give your dog's teeth a thorough clean under anaesthesia and will then advise you on a follow-up dental care routine that can be performed at home.

Written by: Hannah