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Caring for Your Dog’s Teeth

Have you ever had a toothache? If so, you know how painful they can be. Our canine companions can also suffer from dental troubles, including gum disease, abscesses, infections, and misalignments. Keeping your dog’s mouth healthy is very important, as dental issues can lead or contribute to other health problems, such as heart disease and liver trouble. Here, an Ellicott City, MD vet discusses caring for your dog’s teeth.

Warning Signs

Fido can’t tell you if his teeth hurt, so it’s up to you to watch for signs of trouble. Bad breath is one of the most common ones. Some other things to look for are stringy, ropy, or excessive drool; swelling; tartar buildup; reduced appetite; lack of interest in play; and, of course, grumpiness. Your dog may also shy away if you touch his mouth, or take longer eating than he once did. If your pet has any of these red flags, contact your vet immediately.

Home Care

Good doggy dental care starts at home. Brushing your pet’s teeth is the best thing you can do. It may take your canine companion a while to get used to the process, so start slow, simply by rubbing your dog’s teeth and gums with a finger. The next step is to add pet toothpaste, and then finally a toothbrush. Be sure to only use products made for dogs. If your furry friend won’t sit still long enough to have his teeth brushed, ask your vet for advice on using dental-formula treats and chews. It’s also important to make sure your pup always has fresh water and safe, suitable chew toys. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Veterinary Care

Dogs should have their teeth checked every year, starting at age one. Of course, if you know or suspect that your canine pal has dental issues, you’ll want to bring him in right away. Once your vet has made a diagnosis, you’ll be able to move on to discussing specific treatment options, which may range from a simple deep cleaning to extractions or other procedures. Keep in mind that the goal here isn’t to give your cute pet a perfect smile: it’s to prevent and treat issues that can cause pain and/or lead to health problems.

Do you have questions or concerns about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your local Ellicott City, MD animal clinic, today!

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