Protecting your pet’s pearly whites doesn’t have to be a painstaking process. Regular brushing, a balanced diet and a variety of chew toys can be instrumental in overall pet health. By age four many dogs show signs of gum disease due to improper mouth care. At home care and regular dental visits with your veterinarian can keep your pet’s teeth at their very best.

Here are our 6 tips for better dental health:

Give your dog the breath test. Of course your pet’s breath may not smell spring fresh, but it shouldn’t have an offensive odor. Foul smells, a decrease in appetite, increases in drinking and urinating or vomiting could all be signs of greater issues and reasons to visit your vet. Bad breath is typically the first sign of dental problems.

Weekly, give your pet’s mouth a check. Look to make sure that their gums are pink and show no signs of swelling. Your dog’s teeth should also be clean, without any brown tartar build up around the bottom.

Tooth Decay:
When bacteria and food particles build up they can harden into tartar. As tartar builds up it can cause gingivitis, receding gums and result in tooth loss. Regular cleanings can help to prevent tartar build up and tooth decay.

At Home Brushing:
There are a variety of at home brushing kits on the market. They come with brushes specially designed for your dog’s mouth and a pet friendly toothpaste. These kits can make brushing sessions easier for you and your pet. Avoid using human toothpaste as it can irritate a dog’s stomach.

Using a finger wrapped in gauze or a pet friendly toothbrush work at a 45 degree angle in small, circular motions to clean the teeth. It is important to concentrate on the bottom of the tooth where the gum and tooth meet, as this is where the tartar build up occurs. Be firm, but gentle when brushing.

Chew toys provide many benefits for pet’s. Chewing helps to strengthen teeth, massage gums and fights against plaque buildup. Playing with chew toys also prevents boredom, reduces stress and gives an appropriate outlet for gnawing.

A healthy, balanced diet is a key component in a healthy life. To keep your pet’s teeth at their healthiest, refrain from serving your pet table scraps. Opt instead for healthy treats that are designed to keep teeth healthy. Your veterinarian may also recommend a prescription dental diet, like Hills T/D. These kibbles are specifically targeted at breaking down tartar buildup. It has been shown to be effective when feeding at least 25% of a pet’s total daily intake.

Just like humans, proper oral health is an important component to a healthy life. Through weekly oral maintenance and regular dental visits with your veterinarian you can keep your dog’s teeth strong and pearly white!