Good dental health is as important for your dog as it is for you. Tartar and gingivitis are two of the most common problems in dogs and can lead to gum disease and loss of teeth. Even more serious illnesses can affect your dog if its teeth are neglected. You should brush your dog’s teeth because not cleaning them for a long period of time will result in bacterial infections that can have an effect on your dog’s heart, kidneys and liver. It is estimated that 75% to 80% of all pet dogs have some oral and dental disease by the time they are only 3 years old.
Here are some things you need to know:
Brushing your dog’s teeth – Taking care of your dog’s teeth requires that you brush your dog’s teeth daily to eliminate plaque and slow the development of tartar on his teeth. Begin brushing his teeth gradually, making it a pleasant experience rather than a upsetting one. Use a finger brush instead of a toothbrush made for humans -and use toothpaste made for pets. Don’t use your own toothpaste as it may contain ingredients harmful to your dog. After brushing his teeth, reward him with a nice little treat. These dental treats help remove tartar build up, and the combination of chlorophyll, peppermint, parsley, dill, and fennel, help freshen your dog’s breath and also aid in digestion, alleviate gas, and soothe upset stomachs.
Diet – Your dog’s diet is important and what your pet eats will definitely affect its teeth. Dry dog foods and solid, dry doggy treats will help clean the plaque from the teeth. Real bones should not be fed to your dog and should not be used to help clean its teeth. Most people think bones are healthy for dogs; after all, didn’t we grow up watching dogs eating and burying bones in TV shows and movies. But the truth is real bones are not healthy for dogs. They are dangerous because they can cause health problems for your pet. Not all vets and pet experts will agree on this, but most veterinarians can tell you horror stories about bones and dogs.
It’s always been assumed that bones are good canine treats but this is not true. A dog’s teeth can fracture because most bones are hard enough that they can cause teeth to crack. Unfortunately, this can end up with your dog requiring a root canal or tooth extraction. Obstruction of your dog’s airway can also happen if all or part of a bone slides down its throat and becomes stuck, blocking the airways and causing it to choke. If the bone is large enough it can cause death by choking. The sharp edges of bones can also cut your dog’s gums and tongue. This is certainly painful for your dog, and bones may also get stuck in its mouth between the molars of the lower jaw.
Bones can pass through your dog’s digestive tract and cause serious damage. A piece of bone may become lodged in the stomach or intestines or even up in the esophagus. If this happens it requires an emergency visit to your vet and surgery to remove the bone. If a bone doesn’t get stuck it still can cause a lot of irritation as it passes through your dog’s intestinal tract. The worst thing that can happen is when fragments of bone actually poke through the lining of the inside of the stomach or intestines and colon. At that point your dog faces a life-threatening situation.
We know dogs love bones but there are too many risks when a dog eats bones, whether the bones are raw or cooked.
The bottom line is – do not feed your dog real bones. If you feed bones to your dog because you believe that chewing is instinctive and essential for dogs, try a safe alternative instead. Remember that dog’s need their teeth just as much as we do, and I have yet to see dentures for doggies or dental implants, which if they were available, certainly wouldn’t be covered by doggie Medicare!