Most people don’t realize the importance of keeping a dog’s teeth and gums clean and healthy. The importance of keeping a dog’s teeth clean goes much deeper than the gums. The health of a dog’s teeth and gums is a matter of life and death, and if your dog’s teeth and gums aren’t healthy, chances are your dog isn’t either. The sad fact is, a dog can die of complications and health problems that are a direct result of neglected teeth and gums. I learned this lesson the hard way.
A Deadly But Preventable Disease
My dog of 10 years passed away as a result of the condition of her teeth and gums. My sweet American Eskimo dog Jasmine, died of advanced kidney failure, and the vet said the condition of her teeth and gums could have caused the illness that ultimately caused her premature suffering and death. I realized my dog’s teeth and gums weren’t healthy, but my vet never told me the ongoing problems with her teeth and gums could ultimately kill her. If I had known, I would have cleaned her teeth and gums regularly. I had no idea I would lose my dog to a preventable disease.
After I realized my dog’s bad breath was caused by excess tartar and swollen gums, I began taking her to the vet to have her teeth cleaned, but the tartar came back almost immediately because I didn’t take the time to brush her teeth each day. In hindsight I realize I should have spent $35 every six months to have my dog’s teeth professionally cleaned, but I didn’t.
Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Like many people, I thought a dog didn’t require professional dental care. A wild dog doesn’t go to the vet, and a wild dog doesn’t use a toothbrush. I thought it was ridiculous to brush an animal’s teeth, but I didn’t know I would lose one of my best friends to kidney failure caused by bad teeth and gums. If I knew, I would have done everything in my power to keep my dog’s teeth and gums clean and healthy. I would have spent the money to have my dog’s teeth cleaned, and I would have brushed her teeth three times a day if I knew then what I know now.
I can’t bring back my Jasmine, but I can warn other dog owners about the potential dangers of unhealthy teeth and gums and the importance of keeping their dog’s teeth and gums clean and healthy.
Toothbrushes for Dogs
If you want to keep your dog’s teeth and gums clean, and if you want to protect the health of your beloved pet, brush your dog’s teeth on a regular basis. A dog’s teeth should be brushed each and every day. Taking a couple of minutes each day to brush your dog’s teeth will keep your dog’s breath fresh, and protect your dog from health problems and deadly diseases caused by unhealthy teeth and gums.
Toothbrushes specially designed for dogs can be found in most discount stores that sell pet supplies. Toothbrushes for dogs range from a soft fingertip toothbrush that fits over the end of the index finger to heavy duty toothbrushes designed to fit the contour of a dog’s mouth.
Fingertip toothbrushes for dogs are the easiest to use since fingertip toothbrushes are easier to control than a toothbrush with a hard handle. With a fingertip toothbrush you can place just the right amount of pressure on your dog’s teeth and gums, and you can feel every tooth in the process.
If you don’t want to stick your finger in your dog’s mouth, choose a toothbrush with a handle. If your dog isn’t very cooperative and doesn’t sit still while you’re brushing his teeth, choose a fingertip toothbrush. Choose a toothbrush for your dog that you’re comfortable using. You’ll be more likely to brush your dog’s teeth and gums on a regular basis if you’re using a toothbrush that you’re comfortable with.
Toothpaste for Dogs
Toothpaste for dogs is made especially for dogs. Never brush your dog’s teeth with toothpaste for humans. Toothpaste for dogs is meat flavored, and it is formulated especially for dogs. Follow product label instructions for specific recommendations regarding brushing your dog’s teeth.
Don’t worry that your dog won’t like the toothpaste. Most dogs love having their teeth brushed because the meat flavored toothpaste is a savory treat. Your dog will more than likely look forward to having his teeth brushed each and every day.
Provide Bones for Your Dog
Bones can help keep a dog’s teeth clean and gums healthy, but contrary to popular belief, not all dogs like to chew bones. I adopted my dog Jasmine when she was two years old, and although I bought rawhide bones for my dog, she never chewed them. I came to the conclusion that my dog was never introduced to bones when she was a puppy. My dog chewed the towels that lined her indoor kennel, but she ignored her bones. I figured out the people who first adopted Jasmine didn’t buy bones for her. They gave her old socks and rags to play with, and this is why she wanted to chew on her towels.
If your dog is still a puppy, give your puppy rawhide bones and other bones to chew on. If you wait until the dog is older, the dog won’t know what to do with the bones. There are bones designed to help keep the teeth clean, and considering the benefits these bones provide, they are well worth the money.
If your dog won’t chew rawhide or rubber bones, make sure to provide your dog with bones he can eat. Although my dog wouldn’t chew rawhide bones, my dog loved her treats. Dog bones that are edible will also help keep the teeth and gums clean and healthy, and edible bones should be provided to your dog each day.
Professional Dental Care for Your Dog
Dental cleaning should be a regular part of your dog’s veterinary care. Your dog should have a professional cleaning at least once a year, and more often if recommended by your vet. Professional teeth cleaning will help keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy, and this will improve your dog’s chances of living a long and healthy life.
Before I lost my dog to kidney failure that was caused by unhealthy teeth and gums, I wasn’t aware of the danger. I loved my dog, and if taking my dog to the vet for a professional cleaning once a month would have saved her life I would have taken her. I would have spent the money necessary to keep her teeth clean. If I knew this, my dog would probably be alive today.
If you consider your dog a part of your family, take good care of your dog’s teeth. Take your dog to the vet on a regular basis for a professional cleaning, and brush your dog’s teeth and gums at least once a day. My dog is gone, and I don’t have a second chance to have her in my life. I was never told that bad teeth can kill a dog, but you can take the precautions necessary to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy while you still have that chance.