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Dental Care for Dogs

Dental care is important in dogs to ensure that oral hygiene is maintained. Puppies are born without teeth and with time the puppy will grow a temporary set of teeth.

Grown dogs have a set of 42 teeth. Teeth should be cleaned regularly to void infection as well as buildup of tartar that will result in bad breath. Apart from proper dog training and nutritious dog food, oral care for your pet is essential for it's well being.

Dental care for dogs involves

1. Teeth cleaning: This may be done at home using a long tooth brush. The dog’s mouth is held still using one hand while the other hand holds the toothbrush and washes the teeth. The dog should be trained early to be still during teeth cleaning to avoid injury. Use specially formulated tooth paste for dogs.

A number of companies also offer dental products for your dog. These include oral rinses as well as treats that help cleans the teeth and massage the gums as well helping promote circulation.

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2. Teeth scaling: This may be done at home or at the vet clinic. Scaling is the removal of excess tartar which builds up on the teeth. This tartar is normally scrapped off using a tool known as a dental scaler. This process may be painful and in such cases is done when the dog is sedated.

3. Teeth extraction: Normally in puppies, the temporary teeth are lost in order to give room for the permanent teeth to grow. In some cases the temporary teeth may persist causing the permanent teeth to grow in a crooked way or to squeeze in between. This will result in unsightly teeth. To prevent such surgical removal of the temporary teeth is recommended.

Other reasons for teeth extraction include

- Infected tooth

- Fractured tooth

- Decayed tooth

Be on the lookout for signs of infection in the oral cavity. Such signs will include

- Bad breath

- Abnormal color of the gums: Paleness may indicate poor circulation or underlying disease such as anemia. Redness is a sign of inflammation or toxins


- Chewing slowly and carefully. At times the dog may cry when eating or swallow food without chewing which may cause him to choke.

- Swelling of the region below the eye. This may be seen in cases of a molar abscess where carnassials tooth is infected.

Dental care for dogs shouldn’t necessarily involve visiting the vet, if you want to do it at home you can buy a dental care kit. This kit will include a long toothbrush, long finger toothbrush as well as toothpaste specially made for dogs.

From time to time it may be necessary to have the dog’s teeth cleaned professionally. During this time the oral cavity is examined for any other conditions.

Avoid giving the dog treats with a lot of sugar as this will accumulate on the teeth causing destruction and may result in tooth decay. Periodontal disease is a common dental condition in dogs, if the dog’s gums are sensitive and appear redder than usual have the dog checked by a doctor.

A good dental care program for dogs will involve regular check-up, cleaning of the teeth as well as advice on how to maintain oral hygiene.

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