1. The Breath Test
Smell your dog’s breath. Although it is normal for a dog’s breath to not be particularly fresh-smelling, if the odor is especially offensive, it is a good idea to bring him in for a check-up. Often, halitosis (bad breath) is the first sign of a dental problem.
2. Flip the Lip
Once a week, flip your dog’s lip up and examine the teeth and gums. Gums should be pink, with no signs of swelling or irritation. Teeth should be clean, without buildup of brown tartar.
3. Know the Signs
Being familiar with symptoms of oral disease can allow you to catch a problem before it worsens.
Start a good dental care routine before calculus (tartar) has a chance to build up. Like in humans, bacteria and plaque-forming foods can cause build up on a dog’s teeth. We typically brush our teeth at least once a day. Make this part of your dog’s routine, too. Excessive plaque begins to harden into hard-to-remove and irritating tartar within 24 hours of formation. Daily tooth brushing is the best way to fight dental disease.
Along with brushing, regular veterinary dental cleanings, special toys, treats, and food, and water additives such as healthymouth™ help you keep your dog’s mouth clean and healthy.
5. Proper Tooth Brushing Technique
Get yourself a tooth brush especially made for animals. These come in varieties that look similar to human brushes, or there are brushes that slip over your finger, which are especially helpful with small pets. Make sure you have a toothpaste formulated for your dog or cat. Human toothpaste can irritate an animal’s stomach.
If infection and irritation has already started, the best plan of action is to get your pet’s teeth professionally cleaned at the veterinary office. After the cleaning, start your dog’s new dental health plan to help prevent dental problems from arising in the future. Clean mouth, happy dog!