If possible, get your puppy accustomed to having his/her teeth cleaned on a regular basis a home. Gently rub their teeth with a soft cloth or a child’s soft toothbrush dipped in a solution of baking soda and water. do not use toothpaste formulated for humans. Because pets swallow rather than spit out the preparation, this can cause upset stomach.
Deciduous (temporary) or “milk” teeth begin to appear when a puppy is about four weeks of age, and are lost gradually between 14 and 30 weeks of age. During this time, puppies may eat slightly less and chew more. Rubber toys made especially for puppies are a good investment to help prevent household damage during this time.
A cracked or broken tooth can be painful if the nerve tissue is exposed; if it becomes infected, there is the danger of the infection spreading through the bloodstream. Prompt veterinary attention is recommended.
Here are some of the common warning signs of dental problems in dogs:
- Loss of appetite
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Blood in saliva
- Yellow-brown tartar at the gum line
- Broken teeth
- Foul breath
- Reluctant to play with chew toys
However, the most common dental problems dogs experience is buildup from plaque and calculus. If left unchecked, plaque and calculus buildup can eventually cause inflammation of both the gums (gingivitis) and the membrane lining of the tooth socket (periodontitis). Without proper treatment, the teeth may become infected and fall out and the resulting infection may spread to other parts of the body such as the kidneys or valves of the heart.
Dental problems can be minimized or even prevented through regular cleaning and scaling under anesthesia, done by a veterinarian.
Additionally, dry, crunchy foods (such as Purina DH Diet or T/D Canine Dental Health) can be helpful in keeping the teeth clean. As the dog chews, particles from the dry food scrape against the teeth, acting like a toothbrush to help remove plaque.
The most successful means of preventing plaque build up involves routine brushing. It is important to “work-up” to a complete brushing session. Gradually increase the number of quadrants that you brush as well as the number of times a week you brush. We suggest 4-5 times a week to DAILY if possible to make a significant impact on the accumulation of plaque.
Do you think your puppy is experiencing dental health issues? Let us take a look. Click here to request a consultation