Ever see that commercial on tv for the doggie treats that promotes good teeth and healthy gums that show the dogs with “doggie dentures”? I think it’s pretty funny, but not really. Truth is, this is a very serious matter that affects the overall health of the dog, affecting their longevity, and affecting the pocket books of the owner.
My German Shepherd dog, “Heidi” is having an issue right now. She is a registered therapy dog. She has competed in the sport of Schutzhund. She is also a very “high drive” dog. As a matter of fact, when she bites, she bites so hard, and with such enthusiasm, that she chipped the tops off her canine teeth. One exposed the root and it got infected. She has to get a root canal. The whole procedure, soup to nuts is costing me a whopping 1600.00$ !!! Thank you MasterCard.
Both of my dogs get their teeth brushed at least 3 times weekly. There are many kits on the market that make it easier for the average person to do this. Just go into any pet department store. They usually come with a brush, toothpaste (for dogs) and a finger brush. You always should start with the finger brush to get them used to you being in there mouths.
There is a new process out there called Dental Scaling without the use of anesthesia. Most of the time it is, let’s say, less than truthful. Some dogs are tolerant to you being in their mouth. But when you put a sharp instrument in there and start scraping and probing, that’s not going to go far. In addition, there is no way to get behind the teeth and into the gums. The best way to maintain your pet’s teeth is to have a canine dental professional give them a good cleaning. And that is going to mean anesthesia. Veterinarians who perform these procedures have made anesthesia safer than ever before. And if performed correctly, dogs of over 15 years of age can be treated successfully.
Let’s briefly touch upon chew toys. As a rule of thumb, if you can drive a nail with it, it’s too hard. Some dogs are very heavy chewers. Rope toys and softer bone type toys are best. Also there should be some crunchy stuff in their food as well.
If you start to see discoloring, bad odor, a red line along the gums, or bleeding gums, then you dog is probably a good candidate for a professional cleaning. Brushing only removes soft plaque. And doesn’t go below the gum line. Brushing along with regular checkups is key. Kinda sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
So the key points here are: brush your dog’s teeth regularly, see a Canine Dental Specialist regularly, make sure the chew toys you give them are not too hard and give them a balanced diet. After all, you never know when you dog may get discovered for a movie role and have to flash their pearly whites.