By Katy Cable/TWR
A 3 min. Read
💕 February is Doggy Dental Health Care month and believe it or not, this is a crucial element of your pup’s overall health. Here’s some very important tips and facts for you to “brush-up” on:
I always thought people who brushed their dog's teeth were being a tad obsessive, but when my vet informed me they pulled 13 teeth out of my Pug Raisin's mouth and handed me a bill large enough for me to sink my own teeth into, I realized how important doggie dental care is.
Unless you're a four year old child, you probably wouldn't dream of going day's on end without brushing your teeth. Believe it or not, just like us, your dog shouldn't either.
When plaque is allowed to accumulate on your dog's teeth, within a few days it hardens into tartar. Tartar adheres to the teeth and irritates the gums. Irritated gums result in an inflammatory condition called gingivitis. Dogs with gingivitis have red rather than pink gums, and they often also have stinky breath. If the tartar isn't removed, it builds up under the gums, eventually causing them to pull away from the teeth. This creates small pockets in the gum tissue that trap additional bacteria in the mouth.
Once things progress to this stage, your dog will have developed an irreversible condition called periodontal disease, which not only causes considerable pain, but can also result in abscesses, infections, loose teeth, and bone loss.
But here's what's really shocking: Should your dog develop periodontal disease, the surface of his gums will be weakened, which can allow mouth bacteria to invade the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. If his immune system doesn't kill off the circulating bacteria, it can reach the heart and infect it with a multitude of scary issues.
A Purdue University study points to a strong correlation in canines with gum disease and endocarditis, which is an inflammatory infection of the valves or inner lining of the heart. They also suspect certain strains of oral bacteria may lead to a host of heart problems.
Some types of bacteria found in the mouths of dogs produce sticky proteins that can adhere to artery walls, causing them to thicken. Mouth bacteria are also known to promote the formation of blood clots that can also severely damage the heart
If that's not bad enough, studies have linked periodontal disease in both humans and pets to systemic diseases of the kidneys, liver, and lungs. It can also result in diabetes complications, problems during pregnancy, and even cancer. These serious health problems can either develop or be worsened as inflamed or bleeding gum tissue allows harmful oral bacteria to filter into the bloodstream quicker than a pug can devour a meal.
In addition to systemic diseases, infections in the mouth and gums often create other problems including tooth root abscesses, jaw fractures, nasal infection, and in extreme cases, eye loss and oral cancer. If your dog is lucky they may get by with a simple cavity or chipped tooth.
That probably scared you enough to start looking for a now doggie toothbrush. And that's good news since most of these conditions can be avoided or greatly improved once good oral hygiene has begun and any dental disease has been resolved.
As you can see, your dog's oral hygiene is much more than just an obsessive grooming afterthought. It's an extremely important factor in maintaining your dog's health and longevity. I advise you begin by talking to your vet and getting a thorough evaluation of your dog's teeth, gums and mouth.
In my case, with young Olive, I began daily brushing at home which is sufficient for now. But with Raisin, I needed twice yearly cleanings and a major oral surgery to repair just a few years of neglect.
Pugs, and other "flat-nosed" breeds come genetically disadvantaged in terms of dental health. They seem to have teeth settled in the far reaches of their throats. Not only are they hard to find, they’re even harder to clean. Their cramped, flat muzzles and shape of their mouths makes properly cleaning back molars about as easy as resisting homemade brownies straight out of the oven.
Again, your vet can recommend possibly adding some tartar-removing sprays, and other products which might be useful. Hopefully you can get things under control and a deep cleaning with anesthesia will not be necessary.
Here are a few simple tips for keeping your pet's mouth healthy and introducing the toothbrush:
The next step is to use a safe, natural dental cleaning product designed for pets and apply a small amount to the gauze before you rub your dog's teeth. If you don't have canine toothpaste, you can use organic coconut oil. Once they get used to this, you can progress to either a finger brush or a soft toothbrush the right size for their mouth.
If your furry companion is highly resistant to having their teeth rubbed or brushed, or, in the case of a new rescue/shelter dog that comes with a mouth needing major attention, you can use Treatibles CBD treats and oil. (Use promo code: WEEKLY RUNT to receive a 10% discount on your order) This all-natural cannibis works miracles to chill-out an anxious dog. (To learn more about all the amazing benefits of CBD read my blog) I have tried several prescriptions and have found CBD to be the most effective and with ZERO harmful side-effects. Also, ask your vet about products that when applied to the teeth go to work to break down plaque and tartar without brushing. Those can be an added bonus for Pugs or other pets with dental issues. Remember, the more rubbing and brushing your pet will allow, the more quickly you'll see results, and the easier it will be to maintain dental health.
☠️ALERT REGARDING DOGGIE DENTAL TREATS
Please be cautious when purchasing doggie dental treats. Many contain harmful if not toxic ingredients.
Before You Buy Dental Care Treats, Read The Ingredient List! I see lots of pet parents gravitating to dry kibble and dental treats to keep their dog’s teeth clean. This is a popular misconception. In addition to not containing healthy, species appropriate ingredients, they are loaded with harmful, if not toxic, synthetic additives and preservatives. Some of the most popular products such as: Milk Bone Brushing Chews and Purina Beneful Healthy Smile Dental Twists contain the synthetic toxic preservatives BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) which are used to prevent fats and oils in food from turning rancid.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Toxicology Program has identified BHA and BHT as cancer-causing agents that consistently produce certain types of tumors in laboratory animals.
Unfortunately, the FDA still permits use of these chemicals as preservatives in food, deeming them "generally recognized as safe" in low doses.
In addition, smaller treats that are chewed and swallowed in a matter of seconds provide no real dental benefit for your pet.
Remember, even with bones, dental treats and a healthy diet, it’s still necessary to brush your dog’s teeth. It’s one of the best things you can do to keep your sweetie from becoming “All Bark and No Bite!” 😁