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5 Ways to Save Your Dog’s Teeth

5 Ways to Save Your Dog’s Teeth

Dental disease is a common problem in dogs and can lead to a variety of health issues. It is estimated that 80% of dogs over the age of three years suffer from some degree of periodontal disease. Every time a dog with periodontal disease chews, bacteria are showered into the bloodstream, which then lodges in the kidneys, liver, and heart causing damage and health concerns. Additionally, fractured teeth and tooth root abscesses are painful and can act as a constant source of discomfort for your dog. Here are a few steps you can take to help maintain the dental health of your dog.

1. Start Brushing Your Dog's Teeth Early
Start brushing your dog’s teeth when they are still young as part of a routine grooming protocol. This will acclimate your puppy to the sensation of having their teeth brushed and prevent them from being afraid. It is also a great way to spend time with your dog while improving his health. However, don't despair if you and your older dog have yet to establish a tooth brushing routine…

2. Make Dog Tooth Brushing a Regular Affair
Every day is best, but if that isn’t possible aim for multiple times a week. Schedule the brushing sessions at the same time and place every day, and make it fun. This way your dog won't consider it a chore; he may even start reminding you when it's time to whip out the dog tooth brush.
You'll want to start with baby steps, regardless of your dog's age. Start by letting your dog lick a flavored toothpaste made specifically for dogs from your finger or the toothbrush, and then brush a few teeth (never use human toothpaste, as it can be toxic to your dog if allowed to ingest too much). When you are finished with the tooth brushing session, use a dog treat as a reward for tolerating the experience. With time and practice, your dog will eventually allow you to brush his whole mouth. Keep in mind that you only have to brush the outside surfaces of dog teeth; his tongue will keep the inside surfaces clean.

3. Buy Products with VOHC Seal
There are many products to help supplement your dog teeth brushing routine such as treats, chews and oral rinses. With all oral hygiene products including dog toothpaste, look for the VOHC seal. This indicates that the Veterinary Oral Health Council certifies the product will be effective in reducing plaque and tartar when used as directed. The most effective products have a VOHC seal that says, "controls plaque".

For the complete slideshow on 5 Steps to Save Your Dog's Teeth, visit petMD!

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