Dogs needs routine health care in order to remain at their best. One part of a dogs needs that is often overlooked is dental care. Many owners dont realize their dogs have a dental problem until it is too late. In such cases, the dog may develop gum disease and need some teeth pulled without your awareness. Such procedures are expensive, and they can put your dog at risk. But you can avoid such problems if you'll take steps to keep the dogs teeth free of plaque. You can accomplish this using easy, natural means.
How Plaque Forms
Plaque is caused by the buildup of bacteria, food particles and minerals on the surface of teeth. If plaque isnt removed, it will yellow and harden into tartar. The bacteria will ultimately result in bad breath and gum disease, and can eventually lead to tooth decay, teeth falling out or teeth having to be pulled. When plaque is in the early stages, it is soft and can be removed easily. This is the best time to deal with it.
One of the best and simplest ways to remove plaque from a dogs teeth is to brush his teeth. The type of toothbrush you use will depend on the size of the dog, but it is often possible to use a human toothbrush in either an adults or childs size. You can get pet toothbrushes from a veterinarian, a pet shop or a groomer. No special toothpaste is required; in most cases the best thing to do is to apply something that appeals to the dog, such as a bit of gravy, on the toothbrush to get the dog to cooperate. The rubbing of the bristles will loosen and remove soft plaque naturally.
Firm chew toys and dog biscuits will help scrape plaque off a dogs teeth, keeping them clean with little or no effort on the part of the owner. Chew toys that are textured specially to remove plaque help; but simple, natural dog biscuits that are hard and crunchy rather than soft work well, also. Veterinarians typically recommend against giving dogs bones, since they may cause broken teeth or choking.
Dogs that are fed hard, dry kibble generally are less prone to dental disease than dogs that eat just wet or canned food. Using dry food as the basis of an everyday diet can help to keep plaque down without extra effort. Some veterinarians suggest adding chunks of crunchy vegetables to benefit from the tooth-scrubbing abilities of the food. Dry food that has water or canned food added to it will lose much of its plaque-removing ability.