Teeth Care and Bad Breath

Ahhh, there’s nothing like sweet little puppy kisses being planted
all over your face. But, is Poochie’s breath bad enough to knock you

The care of your dog’s teeth should begin the day you get him, not
when problems develop. Certain breeds, particularly the smaller ones,
are prone to dental problems, so extra preventative care should be

Giving your puppy hard biscuits such as MilkBone is a good start.
Many companies make similar biscuits, so your dog can have a nice
variety. Hard chew toys are great, too. The important thing is to get
the dog into the habit of chewing hard and crunchy things which will
act as a “toothbrush” to keep the teeth strong and free of tartar.

The food you feed your dog can play an important part in your dog’s
dental health, as well. I have always fed my dogs dry food with an
occasional can of food as a treat. Never mix dry and canned food, as
that defeats the purpose by turning the dry food soft. My
motto: ‘Feed your dog mush and his teeth will turn to mush.’ In fact,
one of the reasons the smaller breeds often have dental problems is
because owners tend to feed them canned food, feeling they
are “pampering” them.

Pet stores sell tooth brushing kits for dogs. Do they work? Well, it
can’t hurt, and if you begin a tooth brushing regimen when the dog is
young….BEFORE tartar develops, it certainly can help prevent future
problems. Once tartar develops, brushing won’t have much of an
effect. At that point, it’s time to take the dog to the vet.

Many of my dog grooming clients ask me if I can clean their dog’s
teeth. Teeth cleaning requires that the dog be heavily sedated. It
also requires special tools, the same as your own dentist would use.
Only a veterinarian has the expertise to do this. When you bring your
dog to the vet for his regular visits, he should always examine the
dog’s teeth and gums. In between visits, you should periodically
check the dog’s mouth for signs of tartar and anything irregular. The
first thing most people usually notice is bad doggie breath. By then,
the tartar is often at an advanced stage, sometimes so bad that teeth
must be extracted.

When looking in your dog’s mouth, look for green and/or brown stains,
or a crust-like matter on the teeth. If you see visible signs of
tartar, swelling or discoloration of the gums, or anything that
doesn’t look quite right, make an appointment with your vet. Poor
dental hygiene can lead to infection and other more serious health
problems for your pets.

By Sheri Huttner (website: http://www.dogparlor.com)

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