What’s Good for Fido’s Oral Being?
Did you know that unlike a regular dental visit for humans, if you were to get something as simple as scaling done for your dog, you will need to sedate / put your dog through general anaesthesia? Putting a dog on anaesthesia is an important aspect for a thorough dental cleaning. This, of course is generally a safe procedure but especially for senior dogs, no medical procedure is 100% risk free.
Which dogs are more predisposed to dental issues?
1/ Dogs with poor dental hygiene.
Lack of oral care can lead to bad breath and gum problems. Food particles left behind in between nooks and corners of the teeth will cause plaque (sticky clear residue mixed with saliva) and then comes the formation of tartar. Thereafter these bacteria and toxins can be absorbed into the dog’s blood stream and create havoc.
2/ Certain small breeds like Miniature & Toy Poodles and those with broad skulls and flat faces like Pugs, Bulldogs, Pomeranians and Pekingese to name a few.
The reason is because of “tooth crowding” due to the shape of the jaws. Crowding of teeth into the tiny jaws makes cleaning difficult for these dogs. Hence there is increased accumulation of plaque.
Signs of Oral Diseases
What should you lookout for that rings the bell that attention is needed?
- Stinky breath
- Bleeding and inflamed gums (Gingivitis)
- Unusual loss or broken tooth/teeth
- Uncomfortable opening / closing of the mouth
- Drooling (sometimes with blood)
- Discoloured teeth (Accumulation of plaque that hardens and becomes tartar)
- Reluctant to chew on bones or (hard) chew toys
So what can we do now? Below are some simple guidelines to take care of your Fido’s teeth and prevent dental procedures.
1/ Feed good quality food and a well-balanced diet.
You may throw in the occasional raw chunky carrots and slices of apples for them to chew.
2/ Boost your dog’s immune system. Include supplements that are high in antioxidants.
Minerals and Vitamins essential to your dog’s dental health include Calcium (raw meaty bones / big knuckle bones, cheese, dark leafy vegetables, kelp & yogurt), Iron (beef & livers), Phosphorus (cheese, chicken, salmon, wheat Germ), Vitamin B Complex (Cheese, liver, chicken, fish, yogurt), Vitamin C (Vegetables like broccoli, dark leafy greens & kale and fruits for example papaya, strawberry & kiwi), and Vitamin D (beef, eggs, herring, sardines & salmon).
3/ Give your dog the occasional harder chews (dehydrated treats or raw bones) and dental toys. We personally love to give our dogs pork knuckles. Feed the round fist shaped part and avoid the mid-joints that may splinter. The slow gnawing effect helps “brush the teeth””. We have personally seen dogs benefit from weekly intake. You can start with weekly and then once monthly when the teeth are of better shape already.
4/ Brushing the dog’s teeth daily or use an oral care product
5/ Lastly, ensure Fido goes for his/her yearly check-up as your vet should know the best.