Signs its time for a dental check-up
January 14, 2022
Many owners simply accept stinky dog breath as one of the less glamorous parts of dog ownership. February is Pet Dental Health Month, so we thought it might be good to explain why bad breath may be a sign that things aren’t as they should be inside your dog’s mouth.
Caring for your dog’s teeth
Pet Dental Health Month in February shines a spotlight on oral healthcare. At Clarendon Street Veterinary Surgery, we strongly believe that the key to good oral health is owner education, as the majority of preventative dental care can be managed at home.
Ideally, you should care for your dog’s teeth daily, to help maintain healthy teeth and gums. Regular home check-ups ensure early detection of any problems and allow early treatment of any issues that may arise.
If you notice anything unusual we recommend a visit to the surgery. Below is a list of signs that may indicate the need for a check-up.
- Bad smelling breath
- Red gums that may be swollen or bleeding
- Build-up of plaque around the gum line (clear/yellow soft substance)
- Tartar deposits (hard yellow/brown coating on teeth)
- Discoloured, misaligned, or broken teeth
- Your dog shows uncharacteristic reluctance or aggression when you go near their mouth
- Reduced appetite and possible weight loss – this could be related to many other conditions so it is always important to get your dog checked over.
Poor dental health can be painful for your dog and can make it difficult for them to eat and drink. It can also affect their general wellbeing so it is best not to wait if you notice a problem. Contact us about your dog’s teeth.
Why dogs get dental problems
The most common root cause of many dental issues is a build-up of plaque and tartar deposits. Left untreated, they can lead to painful periodontal disease (the name given to any disease of the teeth and surrounding supports i.e. gums, ligaments, and bone.)
Some dogs are predisposed to dental problems. Tooth misalignment is a major issue, as it causes food, dirt, and bacteria to get trapped, making it hard to remove through natural means and home care. Tooth misalignment is more common in short-nosed dog breeds, dogs with congenital abnormalities (such as overbite/underbite), dogs that have suffered facial trauma, and those that have adult teeth at odd angles due to baby teeth not falling out. Another predisposing factor for dental issues in dogs is an unsuitable diet. Good quality dry food will help to remove plaque.
Can you improve dog breath smells at home?
Cleaning your dog’s teeth daily is the best action you can take towards achieving good oral health. Combine this with regular dental check-ups, the right food, and dental aids (such as specific treats and chews) for even better care. However, when there is an underlying problem causing your dog’s bad breath, veterinary intervention is important to help your dog feel and smell better.
Patrick suggests these 5 dental aids:
- Pet-specific oral gel – to be used with a finger brush or pet toothbrush. Some of these gels use enzymes to break down plaque, so even if your dog won’t allow brushing a little of this on the teeth is still beneficial.
- Dental products that can be mixed into water or sprinkled over food
- Dental chews can help, but be wary of the calories
- Carrots make good dental chews in moderation
- Toys designed to give your dog’s teeth a dental workout
As always, we are happy to answer any questions relating you your dog’s dental health, and book you in for a check-up if appropriate.