More than just bad breath: How to take care of dogs teeth
More than just bad breath: How to take care of dogs teeth
Stinky stools and bad breath, our dogs are often to blame for any undesirable odours. Whilst bad breath may be common in dogs, poor oral hygiene should never be ignored. Parcelpet discusses the causes of bad breath, how to take care of dogs teeth and general grooming best practice.
What your dog’s bad breath might mean
The most common cause of bad dog breath is dental/gum disease, most often caused by poor oral hygiene. Smaller breeds, such as Yorkshire Terriers and Chihuahuas, are more vulnerable to developing poor oral hygiene as they are especially prone to plaque and tartar build up.
Whilst most dogs may experience bad breath here and there, chronic bad breath should not be ignored. If your dog’s breath persistently smells bad, this may indicate that there is a larger oral problem, within the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract or internal organs.
Of course, more often than not, your dog’s bad breath is simply poor oral hygiene, which can be improved by brushing their teeth, feeding them the appropriate food and keeping the coat around their mouth well groomed.
Either way, bad breath should not be left to linger. Whilst your dog’s bad breath might not indicate anything serious now, over 80% of dogs suffer from oral illnesses and diseases. Therefore, with pet health being at the forefront of our mission, we believe that it is best to tackle the situation head on.
Causes for your dog’s bad breath
There are many reasons as to why your dog may be suffering from bad breath. Ranging in severity, it is important to understand what is causing your dog’s bad breath in order to ‘fix’ the problem.
More serious illnesses, as discussed above, include:
- Dental and gum diseases (such as Periodontal disease, which causes inflammation of the teeth’s supporting structures)
- Problems within the respiratory system (such as inflammation, bacteria or infection)
- Problems within the gastrointestinal tract (such as IBS and colitis)
- Diseases within the internal organs (such as kidney disease)
Less severe causes for your dog’s bad breath include:
- Tartar and plaque build-up
- Saliva and food stuck in the coat surrounding the mouth
- Diet (whilst dry food helps to keep dental hygiene in check, wet food has no dental benefits)
Other symptoms to look out for
- Difficulty chewing
- Sore gums
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of ‘spark’
- Rubbing face on floor or with paws
- Excessive salivation
- Bleeding from the gums
Dog oral hygiene best practice
Dog teeth cleaning
How often should dogs teeth be cleaned?
The frequency at which your dog’s teeth should be cleaned varies depending on which food you are feeding them, how prone they are to tartar and plaque build-up, as well as your dog’s individual oral hygiene.
If you are feeding your dog a dry diet, providing them with plenty of chews and ensuring that they are generally well kept (grooming) then there is no reason why you should need to brush your dog’s teeth more than once a week.
For dogs playing catch up, or indeed do not fit the criteria above, more frequent brushing may be required in order to keep their oral hygiene up to a healthy standard.
Remember, you cannot ‘over’ brush your dog’s teeth, in fact most experts will tell you that the more often you can brush your dog’s teeth, the better. However, we recognise that the challenge of brushing a dogs teeth can be a difficult one and therefore recommend brushing when and where you can, with monitoring in between.
Grooming coat around mouth (saliva, food stuck in fur etc)
It is easy to forget to groom your dog’s coat surrounding their mouth (particularly as this isn’t your dog’s favourite area to be groomed). However, this area can wreak havoc for your dog’s oral hygiene due to the build-up of drool and saliva.
Not only will this contribute towards your dog’s bad breath, but by storing bacteria in this area, this is more likely to enter your dog’s digestive system, causing more serious problems than bad breath.
The effectiveness of chews
Chews do three things for our dogs’ teeth; they clean, they protect and they strengthen;
Chews clean our dogs’ teeth by creating friction between the chew and the surface of the dog’s teeth. This friction causes the plaque and tartar build-up to loosen and leave the tooth’s surface.
Good quality chews are formulated to include ingredients which provide dogs’ teeth with a ‘barrier’ to protect them from plaque and tartar build-up. This reduces the amount bacteria ‘sticking’ to our dogs’ teeth, in turn resulting in a better smelling, better looking smile.
Chews also stimulate the teeth, gums and muscles in the mouth, strengthening our dogs’ teeth. Strengthening our dogs’ teeth reduces the likelihood of them loosing teeth later in life.
Best dog food for bad breath
Feeding your dog a dry food diet will contribute towards improving their oral hygiene, and therefore their bad breath. But what makes dry so good at combating bad breath?
Dry food, creates friction between the teeth and the kibble, loosening the plaque and tartar on your dog’s teeth in a similar way to how chews work.
Another advantage of kibble is that lots of nutrients can be packed into convenient biscuits, which again, can improve oral and general health.
Plant extracts in particular, can reduce the odours which stem from the gastrointestinal system, directly reducing your dog’s bad breath.
Parcelpet always recommends consulting a veterinary expert for advice about chronic problems. However, there are ‘treatments’ that you can seek for acute bad breath. Again, we recognise how difficult brushing your dog’s teeth can be, and if so, you may want to consider arranging a deep clean with either your groomer or vet.
A deep clean will make sure that those difficult to reach areas (which are often the cause of bad breath) are targeted. Not only will their oral hygiene benefit, but this will allow the experts to have a full examination of your dog’s mouth, so you can rest assured that your dog’s dental and general health is tip top.
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