The Importance of Dental Hygiene for Dogs

Most people joke that their dogs have bad breath, but dental hygiene is not a
laughing matter in dogs.

Nearly 80 percent of all dogs will develop a dental disease once over the age of three.
Just like in humans dental diseases are severely overlooked, and they can lead to
serious problems. Puppies start out with 28 teeth.

By the age of six months these deciduous or baby teeth start to fall out.

When the dog has become full grown he should now have 42 teeth. Owners will probably see one of two of these teeth lying around as they fall out. If the deciduous teeth do not fall out and the adult teeth start to come in this can lead to problems such as tartar formation, gingival irritation, and malocclusions problems.

Dental care should start early on. Veterinarians can help owners look out for deciduous teeth falling out. They can also teach them how to care for their dog's teeth and gums. Signs of dental problems start out with bad breath but can lead to inflamed gums, missing or broken teeth, lethargy, and reluctance to eat or to play with toys.

Just like in humans bad dental care can lead to a buildup of bacteria that can get into the dog's bloodstream and affect many other areas of the body. If a dental disease progresses, the dog's heart, kidneys, intestinal tract, and joints may all be affected.

Veterinarians can teach owners how to brush their dog's teeth and gums. Many tend to carry toothbrushes with them to show owner's what to do. Some owner's may even decide to get their dog a cleaning. This will sometimes require blood work to make sure that no bacteria has spread to other parts of the dogs body.

Dental care is not to be taken lightly with dogs. If more owners were concerned, they would not have to watch their dog suffer later. Dental care should be started when the dog is a puppy, but if it is already past that point, and the dog has bad breath, it is advisable to see a veterinarian straight away.