How to treat bad oral health in dogs

Oral Health

For any oral health issue that is causing an obvious problem, the vet is the first destination. They can properly examine your dog’s mouth under anaesthetic, and clean their teeth thoroughly. Any teeth that need extraction can be removed, and any other oral health problems can be diagnosed and a treatment plan devised. A regular dental exam from the vet is an important part of keeping your dog’s mouth as healthy as possible.

The best method to prevent gum disease, and a great answer to the question of how to get rid of a dog’s bad breath, is to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. It is best to get them used to having this done as a puppy if possible but with time and patience, most dogs come to accept the process.

Start by picking a time when your dog is calm and relaxed, as you do not want them to wriggle and learn that can stop the brushing. Keep sessions very short and reward them with something nice after you have finished. Repeat each stage for 2-3 days to ensure they are happy before progressing.

Rubbing a finger gently along the dog’s lip, outside of the mouth, gets them used to a hand there. When the dog is quite happy with this, you can slip your finger under the lip to rub the tooth and gum gently. When your dog accepts this happily, introduce the brush. Soft-bristled brushes and brushes that fit over your finger are available from pet stores or your vet. Soak the brush in warm water and repeat the gentle gum stroking process, this time using the brush tip to touch the gum. Try to angle the head at 45 degrees to clean along where the gum meets the teeth, and use a gentle circular motion. Start with the front teeth, and move back towards the molars as the dog becomes more accustomed to having their teeth brushed.

Once the dog is happy with the toothbrush, you can add toothpaste and brush! Daily is best, but aim for 3-4 times a week at least. Doggy toothpaste is available in a variety of flavours to make the process more palatable. Never use human toothpaste, as some ingredients are toxic to dogs. One dog bad breath home remedy that you can use to make life more pleasant while working on brushing teeth is to add chopped mint or parsley to their food, as they are natural breath fresheners. Some people think that biscuit helps clean their dog's teeth but this is widely thought of as a myth.

In addition to brushing – or instead of, if your dog really doesn’t like the idea – provide suitable dog chews and rubber chew toys, as these will help to remove plaque from the teeth before it can cause problems. Some people think that eating kibble will help remove plaque. This is not true, as the kibble will leave food morsels behind, rather like expecting our teeth to be clean after eating a biscuit! If unsure what is suitable for your dog, consult your vet for advice.

As with all health considerations, feeding a top-quality, nutritionally balanced diet will help all areas of your dog’s health and wellbeing.

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