Many people do not realize the importance of caring for their dog’s teeth. As dogs age, the need for dental care increases. The best way to ensure your dog’s good dental health is to start brushing his teeth daily from a very young age.
Even with proper preventive measures, most dogs will eventually need a professional teeth cleaning from your veterinarian. Without this, your dog could develop dental disease. Harmful bacteria from the mouth can pass through into the bloodstream and cause potentially serious problems such as kidney infections and heart valve infections involving the heart valves.
A teeth cleaning performed by your veterinarian is much like the one you get from your own dentist. However, your dog will need to be sedated for the procedure. The anesthesia is light and very safe. Many veterinarians have anesthesia monitoring systems just like those used in human medicine.
First, a thorough exam will be performed to determine if any teeth need to be pulled or repaired. Some veterinarians will do x-rays of the teeth to find any cracks or diseased teeth.
After this, a trained technician will perform the dental cleaning. First, they will scale the teeth to remove the tartar above and below the gum line. This will be done with hand instruments and ultrasonic scaling equipment. After this, the teeth will be polished, which will make them smooth and help prevent plaque from adhering to them. Most veterinarians will also do a fluoride treatment. This is to help strengthen the enamel and prevent plaque from forming.
If any teeth are diseased or broken, your veterinarian may pull them. Some veterinarians who specialize in dental care will perform root canals and other intensive dental work. Most veterinarians will put your dog on a treatment of antibiotics to help prevent bacterial infection.
It is very important to take good care of your dog’s teeth to keep them healthy and to prevent infections. Always follow your veterinarian’s advice and if you have questions, consult your veterinary staff or pet professional.
One of the easiest ways to promote good health in your dog healthy is to keep his teeth clean and in good condition. Many people do not realize how important dental care is for dogs. The best way to ensure proper dental health for your dog is to start when he is very young.
Many dogs don’t like having their mouths touched. That’s why you should desensitize your dog to being handled like this, starting at a very young age. The veterinarian will always want to examine your dog’s mouth, and you don’t want to have problems with an uncooperative canine.
Gently touch the lips, open the mouth, and touch the teeth in a calm and relaxing way for about five minutes each day until your pup is used to being handled in this way. You can start this process with an older dog, too. It may take a little longer for the older dog to accept the handling. Make this a regular part of your interaction with your dog so he remains calm when you are doing any kind of preventive dental care.
For best results, veterinarians recommend brushing your dog’s teeth daily. You should buy special toothpaste made for dogs. Don’t ever use human toothpaste on dogs as it can be toxic to them. To get your dog used to having his teeth brushed, you could start by putting a dab of dog toothpaste on a cotton ball or on your finger and rubbing it over his teeth. Toothpaste for dogs is flavored and usually quite tasty to them, so he shouldn’t mind this.
You can then try a finger brush, available at any pet supply store. Eventually, especially for larger breeds, you will want to graduate to a regular dog toothbrush. Daily brushing will help prevent the buildup of calculus and debris on your dog’s teeth.
Dogs are very curious animals and, as omnivores and natural scavengers, can get into and eat just about anything. However, there are many toxic substances found in and around your home that could potentially kill your dog. The following is a list of ten common household substances that you should make sure to keep out of your dog’s reach.
1) Antifreeze: Many people don’t realize it, but common antifreeze (ethylene glycol) kills many pets each year. It smells and tastes very sweet to your dog and is very appealing to him. Symptoms of toxicity include seizures, vomiting, stumbling and lethargy leading to kidney failure. Make sure to keep your antifreeze out of your dog’s reach and watch for spillage in your neighbors’ driveways. If you suspect that your dog has ingested antifreeze, take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.
2) Chocolate: Chocolate contains a substance called the obromine which is toxic to dogs. Baking chocolate and dark chocolate is especially dangerous. While it usually takes a somewhat large amount of chocolate to kill a dog, poisoning and death does occur with smaller amounts ingested. Signs of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, increased urination, and increased activity. This can progress to seizures and unusual heart rhythms. Call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate.
3) Bleach: As you might imagine, household bleach is toxic to dogs. Keep all products containing bleach out of your dog’s reach. Symptoms of bleach poisoning include drooling, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Do NOT induce vomiting if you suspect your dog has ingested bleach. Contact your veterinarian immediately.
4) Tylenol: As little as two regular strength Tylenol tablets can kill a small dog. Dogs lack the proper liver enzymes to break down acetaminophen. Signs of toxicity include drooling, lethargy, and abdominal pain. If you suspect your dog has ingested Tylenol, call your veterinarian immediately.
5) Watch Batteries: If your dog ingests a watch battery, it can cause a potentially fatal ulceration in the stomach within 12 hours. All other alkaline batteries are toxic to dogs as well. Symptoms of toxicity include drooling, lack of appetite, vomiting, and lethargy. If you suspect your dog has ingested a watch battery, contact your vet immediately.
6) Moth Balls: Moth balls are very dangerous to dogs. They contain an insecticide that causes central nervous system excitement and seizures. When metabolized, ingestion of moth balls can lead to liver failure. Symptoms of poisoning by moth balls include vomiting and seizures. If your dog has consumed moth balls, do NOT induce vomiting. Seek veterinary care immediately.
7) Fabric Softeners and other detergents: All sorts of household detergents are toxic to dogs at one level or another, but fabric softeners fall into the highly toxic category. Signs of toxicity include vomiting, lethargy, burns to the mouth, drooling, muscle weakness, and even coma. Do NOT induce vomiting if your dog has ingested any detergent. Contact your veterinarian immediately.
Mouthwash: Mouthwash can contain boric acid which is highly toxic to dogs. Symptoms of poisoning by mouthwash include vomiting, drooling, seizures, and coma. You should take your dog to the veterinarian immediately if you suspect poisoning by mouthwash or any other household item containing boric acid, such as contact lens solution or denture cleaner.
9) Peach Pits: The pits and the seeds of most fruits are toxic to dogs. Signs of poisoning include drooling, vomiting, and lethargy. If you suspect your dog has eaten a peach pit or the pit or seeds of any fruit, take him to the veterinarian immediately.
10) Household Plants: Many common and popular household plants are highly toxic to dogs. A partial list of toxic plants includes poinsettias, lilies, ferns, devil’s ivy, aloe, and ivy. Symptoms of poisoning due to ingestion of toxic plants include vomiting and central nervous system excitement. Many of these plants are fatal if ingested. Please contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog has eaten a toxic houseplant.
With diligence on our part, we can prevent our dogs from getting into dangerous and toxic substances. Many veterinary school websites offer lists of items that are toxic to dogs and what you should do if your dog ingests such items. As always, if you think your dog may have eaten something dangerous, contact your veterinarian immediately or take your dog to the closest emergency clinic.