Should I Brush My Pet’s Teeth?

Do you love being woken up by your dog’s nuzzling nose in the morning, but hate the bad puppy breathe? Your dog could be afflicted with the same oral hygiene issues that plague people.

Dogs are just as susceptible to plaque development as humans are. Tooth plaque in dogs is caused by the buildup of bacteria and food particles, whether from their normal dog food or those other things dogs find to snack on – shoes, dog toys, dinner leftovers, etc.

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There are a variety of at-home methods for caring for your dog’s teeth, all of which can help reduce plaque buildup.

• Brushing: Between routine dental checks by your vet, brushing is the most effective at-home treatment. Most dogs will take a few tries before they warm up to the idea of having their teeth brushed, but with patience (and deliciously flavored dog toothpastes), it will become routine for them.

• Oral Rinses & Gels: Walk into any pet store and you will find a variety of rinses and gels for canine oral health. These contain a compound called Chlorhexidine, which binds to oral tissues & tooth surfaces, acting as a plaque reducing antiseptic. It is safe for pets, though some dogs may object to the taste

• Dietary Treatment: Certain dog food brands and chews can also help fight plaque. Specially shaped kibble or anti-tartar ingredients can be found in dog food, while specially designed chews, with ridges and edges designed to help clean teeth, can be great long-term ways to increase dental health.

Other causes of bad breath in dogs can include diabetes, infections or kidney disease. If persistent bad breath is an issue and oral hygiene management doesn’t help, be sure to consult your veterinarian to rule out a bigger problem.

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