Oral Hygiene for Dogs: How to be a Responsible Pet Parent?

“A smile is the only curve that sets everything right”; and when it’s a dog’s smile, it ought to bring happiness many times multifold.

But, did you ever pause to think that not maintaining good oral hygiene for your dog could unleash an avalanche of problems ranging from tooth decay, bad breath, infections et al.

Not only will it cause pain and discomfort for your furry buddy, but also lead to problems for us.

According to a survey, 85% of dogs over the age 4, are suffering from some form of periodontal disease (a painful oral condition that can lead to tooth loss, infection). Oral problems, if left untreated, can allow the bacteria to enter via the bloodstream to your dog’s heart, liver, and kidneys and cause severe permanent damage to them.

Here are the kind of oral conditions to watch out for to ensure better dental health for your dogs.

Symptoms of Oral Diseases in Dogs

The most common symptoms of oral diseases are varied, but very obvious.

Bad breath: the most common symptom and sign of a problem is bad breath. If your dog has bad breath, don’t try and explain it away as natural. If your dog is healthy, it should have healthy and clean smelling breath. Bad breath can also be a sign of diabetes.

Inflamed gums are another sign of oral disease. These gums will look swollen and can easily bleed. Make sure you check your dog’s gums for signs of hygiene and health.

Excessive drooling is another symptom of oral disease. Don’t let the slobber become too much to deal with.

Reference – https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/tips-better-dental-health-dogs#1-5

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Types of Dog’s Oral Diseases

Periodontal disease: Periodontal disease is when the tissues holding teeth and gums become infected. Plaque builds up in the mouth and causes this usually.

Gingivitis: When gums become inflamed, it’s a sign of gingivitis. It is a type of periodontal disease, and can become periodontal disease if left untreated.

Halitosis: When there’s an overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth, it causes bad breath, also known as halitosis.

Swollen gums: With a buildup of plaque, gums can start swelling up. This easily becomes painful if left untreated.

Mouth Tumours: When there is a cancerous growth in the mouth, it is a mouth tumour.

Canine Distemper Teeth: When enamel gets infected and there is plaque build up and early gingivitis, it is called distemper teeth. It is usually sped up by canine distemper.

Salivary Cysts: When the flow of saliva in a dog’s mouth becomes problematic or difficult, and is blocked because of injury, illness, or other issues, they can form salivary cysts.

Reference – https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/tips-better-dental-health-dogs#1)

How to ensure Better Oral Hygiene for Dogs?

This might sound silly, but it is important to check your dog’s teeth and gums daily. Try and brush your dog’s teeth once a day as well, if not once in two days. Their teeth are also subject to decay and infection just like ours.

Buy a proper doggy toothbrush and consider adding flossing to your dog’s oral hygiene routine. Use Neem Datun, as neem is excellent for tooth and overall mouth hygiene.

Reference: https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/tips-better-dental-health-dogs#1

Regular brushing, providing a healthy diet and chew toys can go a long way towards keeping their mouth healthy and smell fresh. Daily brushing is ideal for a dog; however, given our busy schedules and workloads, we should ensure that we brush their teeth at least 4 times a week.

A word of caution- Avoid using human toothpaste for cleaning your dog’s mouth. They contain fluoride, which is harmful for our tailed kids.  Dogs can tear apart the plastic toothbrush by chewing and can cause choking.

Also, we know that brushing their teeth can be a humongous task. And the readymade “dog toothbrush and paste”, “dog chews” are quite expensive for many of us.

How do we then take care of our dogs’ oral hygiene in a very economical way?

Neem Datun or Neem twig is the answer!!

Why Neem Datun is the best alternative for oral care?

Reference – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgjOKLU_A0c

The neem twig/datun are small twigs cut from the Neem tree. It is easily available and very economical. Also, there are many medicinal and herbal benefits of neem. But be careful, your dog might evade it due to the bitter taste. But yes, even if they chew for a few minutes daily, it is beneficial enough.

Neem is ideal for protection and prevention of oral health and general well-being. Neem is also rich in antioxidants, reduces plaque-causing bacteria and has antibacterial properties.

Listed below are a few more benefits of using Neem datum:

  •     Similar dental protection (can combat a host of infections, bad breath) as the regular brush and paste but at a fraction of the cost
  •     Low maintenance; if the neem twigs dry up, just moisten it a bit
  •     It can cool off minor irritations in the mouth
  •     Can leave a soothing effect on inflammation
  •     Has gum tightening properties

This twig/datun can be especially useful for people running animal shelters and taking care of large number of homeless dogs.

Your dog will take a bit of time to get adjusted to its bitter taste, but with patience and practice, he/she will get accustomed and with daily chewing for a few minutes, can save big bucks and also ensure your dog’s overall oral hygiene.

Oral hygiene is often overlooked but it is very essential for your dog’s health. Like regular grooming, regular oral care is mandatory.

Diet for Healthy Teeth for Dogs

You can feed your dog healthy food, and keep chewy toys and bones handy. These will aid in removing food particles from the mouth. Look into a high fibrous diet for your dogs. Add calcium to the diet.

Reference – https://www.thehonestkitchen.com/blog/7-tips-for-keeping-your-dogs-teeth-sparkling-and-healthy/

They say a dog’s smile runs from the depth of their eyes to the tip of their tail, let’s pledge to protect that smile always!

Did you find this information useful? For more medical advice, visit vosd.in.