Let’s talk teeth, shall we? My teeth have gone downhill since I turned the big 4-0. Having two kids and not keeping up with regular dental appointments is not the best idea when the end goal is to keep your teeth intact. I can’t even bring myself to tally the amount of money I’ve spent to get my teeth up to snuff. It’s really my own fault. When you have two little ones running around, there are days that you really have to stop and think if you brushed your teeth that day.
Good dental care is also important for your dog. Our furry friends with periodontal disease are more like to develop heart, kidney, and liver issues if it is left unchecked. Most people do not make it a habit to regularly brush their dog's teeth until it is too late. Dental issues are not just for senior pets either. Plaque and tartar build-up can and often does wreak havoc on dogs of all ages. By the time a dog is a senior, their teeth are discolored and decayed, and there is little that can be done other than dental surgery which is quite costly.
My friend “Diane” can attest to this. She works as a veterinary technician in a canine dental office in my area. She is a big champion of dental care for dogs. You might even say that she’s a little abcessive. (You can’t fault me for one tooth pun, right? ) When I started to write this blog post, I knew that Diane would be the perfect person to ask questions about this topic. She graciously obliged but she wanted to be sure that any reader who was concerned about their dog’s dental health should seek the advice of their own veterinarian. Here is what we talked about:
If your dog's teeth are in bad shape, what can you feed them to make it easier to eat?
Soft foods. Either canned food or add water to dry kibble. Regardless of age, dogs should not have treats/toys that you are not able to bend in your hand or crumble up (like a biscuit). Antlers, and bones break teeth all the time.
What can be the consequences of letting a tooth decay to the point of no return?
Pain. Infection. Infection can spread through the bloodstream.
What can an owner do now to prevent decay in their dog's teeth?
Daily brushing. If people can't afford yearly teeth cleaning under anesthesia, at least every other year. Professional cleaning is important. I brush my teeth every day and still go to the dentist every 6 months
What do you wish more people knew about senior dogs and their dental care?
Dogs don't show pain like people do. They will continue to eat and live their life. Bad odors from the mouth are not normal. Small dogs are much more prone to dental disease. Most of the small, senior dogs we see need a lot of teeth extracted, and the owners have no idea. Many owners are worried about anesthesia for their senior pets. Pre-anesthetic testing should always be done. Also ask your vet if there is a dedicated anesthesia technician monitoring your pet for the entire procedure. Your vet should also have dental x ray, so ask questions!
Benjamin Franklin once said that “ an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. When you actively and consistently work to prevent tooth decay in your dog, you are working towards a happier and healthier life for your pet. Take steps today to help your pet’s teeth. Your veterinarian can suggest any appropriate supplies that you would require. Each dog’s mouth is different as are each dog’s medical needs so it is best to ask before you purchase any products. If you have any medical concerns with your dog’s teeth, please seek medical attention as soon as possible. For some healthy, US Made dog treats and biscuits be sure to check out our selection here
About Our Guest Blogger
Colleen Fitzpatrick is a former dog groomer turned writer from Upstate New York. She loves all dogs but is particularly fond of basset hounds. She is passionate about animal rescue and hopes to foster dogs once her children are a bit older.