Did you know that your pup’s dental health can drastically affect his overall health and well-being? Infections in the mouth are always dangerous, due to the proximity to the brain. They can also spread to other parts of his body, such as his liver and kidneys, via his bloodstream. Plus, dental problems affect Fido’s ability to chew, which can impede his ability to digest food properly. A Hudson Valley, NY vet discusses doggy dental woes below.
It’s important to keep a close eye out for signs of problems. Bad breath is at the top of the list. Other red flags include bleeding gums, drooling, dribbling food, visible swelling, and/or tartar buildup. As mentioned above, dental issues may also cause difficulty with eating or chewing. You may also notice changes in Fido’s behavior, such as grumpiness or withdrawal.
As with people, gum disease is likely the most widespread dental health issue our canine friends face. As many as 80 percent of dogs over the age of three have it! Another problem we often see in pooches is overcrowding. This is particularly common in small dogs. Man’s Best Friend may also be afflicted by malocclusion, or misalignments, as they’re sometimes called; abscesses and infections. It’s also not unusual for pups to crack or break their teeth. (This isn’t surprising, given Fido’s love for playing with sticks and other hard objects.)
Proper home care can go a long way in keeping your canine pal’s mouth healthy. Brushing is the most effective thing you can do, though of course you’ll need to get Fido used to the process. Start slow, by just gently rubbing his teeth and gums as you pet him. Don’t force the matter! Incorporate treats and praise, so he gets comfortable. (Note: this of course isn’t a good option for dogs that may be fearful or reactive, or those that may bite.) You can then slowly add in a doggy toothbrush and pet toothpaste. If your furry friend just isn’t having it, ask your vet for advice on other options. Things like oral rinses, dental flakes, and dental-formula chews can also help break down plaque and tartar.
Do you know or suspect that your dog has dental issues? Contact us, your local Hudson Valley, NY animal clinic, today!