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We are all aware of the fact that dogs have teeth and like to use them. If you ever had a puppy that chewed up your favorite party shoes, you know what we are talking about. Dogs use their teeth all the time and in all kinds of ways. As a dog owner it is extremely important to do what you can to help your dog maintain healthy teeth. Choosing the right dog food for healthy teeth can be a part of that.
Why Is Dental Health Important for Dogs?
Dogs are prone to tartar buildup and periodontal disease, which is inflammation or infection in the gums. Gum disease can cause pain and discomfort, lead to tooth loss and it can also cause damage to the dog’s heart, liver and kidneys. In severe cases, an infection in the mouth can enter the bloodstream, which can be fatal. The other important consideration is that a domestic dog, that is well cared for, is likely to lead a long life. In the wild, the average life span of a dog would be much shorter. With a long life ahead of it, your dog needs to keep its teeth healthy and intact for many years, and you can help by caring properly for your dog.
VIDEO: Dental Health And Your Dog
Tooth Brushes for Dogs?
Before we start on how to choose dog food that will help your dog have good dental health, we have to talk a little about brushing. Most vets strongly recommend that you brush your dog’s teeth, preferably daily. However, most vets also recognize that few dog owners are able to do that. If you can manage to brush your dog’s teeth even a few times a week, this will greatly contribute to your dog’s dental health. Especially with a young dog, it is definitely worth it to get the dog used to regular tooth brushing. With older dogs set in their ways, you may find it difficult to introduce this new routine, but you should at least give it a try.
The foundation of good dental health is good overall health, so the first step is to make sure that your dog has all its nutritional needs covered. When the dog gets all the minerals and vitamins it needs, this will contribute greatly to healthy and strong teeth. This means that you want to choose dog food for healthy teeth that has been through AAFCO feeding trials. AAFCO regulates the pet food industry and if a food has been through the feeding trials, it means that the food provides a full and balanced diet. Choose dog food for healthy teeth with high quality meat, because meat helps keep the mouth clean and healthy in dogs. Crunchy food will also contribute to better dental health for your dog.
Are Chew Sticks Helpful?
Chew sticks, specially formulated to help clean the dog’s mouth as it chews, can definitely help and is another option for using dog food for healthy teeth without switching their main diet. The sticks will help reduce plaque and tartar buildup and that will help keep the dog’s gums healthy. It is a good habit to give your dog one of these chew sticks daily, preferably before bedtime. This is one aspect of dental maintenance for your dog that should be easy. Most dogs love the chew sticks and consider them a treat. So especially if your dog is not cooperative when it comes to tooth brushing, do make sure that the dog gets a dental stick for a treat on a daily basis.
Avoid Bones, Encourage Safe Chews
Many dog owners believe that bones can provide a fun dog food for healthy teeth, but there are dangers. Real bones can damage your dog’s teeth, so they should be avoided. Although dogs adore bones and eat them in the wild, they can easily damage or even lose teeth by chewing on bones. Bones can also damage the dog’s digestive tract as well as cause constipation. However, chewing on things is an excellent way for your dog to reduce plaque, so give the dog safe things to chew on instead of bones. Good choices include rawhide chews, as well as hard rubber and nylon chew toys. Make sure the dogs always has access to a safe and enjoyable chewy. Wash chew toys regularly and if your dog loses interest in a toy, replace it with a different toy or rekindle the dog’s interest by playing a game with the toy.
Avoid Treats Not Meant for Dogs
Many dog owners are tempted to share their own treats with their dogs. Try to control this impulse. You enjoy your sweets and chips and your dog may eye them jealously, but that doesn’t mean it is a good idea to let your dog join in. These are foods that are likely to stick to the dog’s teeth and contribute to plaque buildup as well as caries. You are not doing your dog any favors by feeding it human snack foods.
Talk to Your Vet
When you visit the vet with your dog, make sure that the vet checks your dog’s teeth as well as the dog’s general health. If you have any concerns about you dog’s mouth, such as recurring bad breath, a broken tooth or a sudden reluctance to eat and chew, book an appointment to get the dog’s teeth checked. As with other health problems, it is important to deal with the problem as soon as possible. You want to avoid having your dog develop a serious infection, for example. In short, proper diet and regular vet care are the best strategies for keeping your dog’s teeth in good condition.