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Open Wide and Say Woof! Improve Your Dog's Dental Health

(Friday, February 14, 2014)

Just as we care for our teeth daily, our dogs should be no different. Being proactive helps to prevent bad breath, gum disease, and oral infections. In honor of National Pet Dental Health Month, AKC Family Dog magazine offers the following important tips for keeping your dog’s teeth and gums clean and healthy:

  • Daily brushings at home: Gently brushing your dog’s teeth and gum line daily helps to remove any plaque buildup.  If you don’t brush your dog’s teeth regularly, the plaque mineralizes and forms hard tartar.  Tartar becomes a spot for bacteria to collect, and the gum recedes from the tooth.  If the depression around the tooth known as the sulcus deepens, it could result in severe gum disease.
  • Professional cleaning: Regular oral care and professional cleanings can also help keep your dog’s chompers clean.  Your vet can provide a thorough cleaning and remove any tartar that regular brushings can’t.
  • Dental toys: Chew toys can also help improve your dog’s dental health.  Chewing on a nylon or rubber toy helps to scrape away buildup on your dog’s teeth.
  • Warning signs: You should take your dog to the vet if he has inflamed gums. It could be a sign of severe tooth problems.  The most common sign of dental pain is lethargy. It’s important to regularly examine your dog’s teeth because untreated oral infections could spread to the kidneys, heart, or liver.

For lots more dog-related advice and entertainment check out the digital edition of AKC Family Dog magazine at: www.akc.org/pubs