One of the ways to improve your dog’s bad breath is to brush his teeth regularly. It is recommended to do this daily but three times a week is okay. Eighty percent of dogs older than 3 years have dental problems and gum disease is the most common. Although gum disease once it starts is irreversible, it can be slowed down or stopped with the right care.

Wonder why you should care about your canine friend’s dental health? Because diseased gums and teeth can cause mouth infection and if left untreated, can cause more serious blood infections which can spread to vital organs.

Dogs develop dental problems when plaque from food stays on your dog’s teeth. If not brushed off with regular brushing, the plaque hardens causing tartar which if irritating to his gums.

Your dog may have dental problems if they have any of the following:

  • Discolored teeth
  • Difficulty chewing or eating
  • Bad breath
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Drooling
  • Weight loss
  • Swelling below one eye
  • Nasal discharge

What can I do about this?

You can help prevent gum disease the same way that we keep our gums and teeth healthy…by regular brushing. Below are helpful tips to achieve this.

  • You can use a toothbrush specifically made for dogs, a child’s soft bristled toothbrush, gauze on your finger, or a finger toothbrush.
  • Since people toothpaste can harm your dog, it is important to use toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs.
  • Initially you will want to start with a small amount of toothpaste on your finger and rub it just inside on his cheek. If he licks the paste, praise him. When he is used to that, then you can try it with a toothbrush. Gradually move to the teeth.
  • After several trials of brushing for a few seconds, gradually build up to a minute.
  • Be sure to brush the inside of the teeth, canines and upper back molars.

There are other things you can do to help prevent gum disease in addition to brushing. One is a dog food (dental formula) designed to help scrape plaque and bacteria off of his teeth. Another is having chewable treats and toys available for your dog. Good toys are bones, knobby toys, floss toys and rawhide.

A vet who specializes in dentistry may also be a good choice if the dental disease is severe. 

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