Do your pet’s affectionate smooches leave you gagging? Fido isn’t exactly known for having winter-fresh breath. However, bad breath can be a sign of doggy dental issues. A local Pelham, ON vet discusses doggy dental care below.

Common Issues

Gum disease is one of the most prevalent dental issues we see in dogs. In fact, over 80 percent of pups over age three are afflicted. This is very concerning. Gum disease is painless in its early stages, but can cause tooth loss or movement as it progresses. Also, the bacteria can travel through Fido’s bloodstream to his major organs, and can contribute to other health issues. Our canine pals can be afflicted by abscesses, misalignments, and infections. They also sometimes crack or break their teeth by chewing or playing on hard objects.

Symptoms

Bad breath is one of the most common signs of dental issues in dogs. Heavy, bloody, or ropy drool is another. Your pooch may dribble food, take longer eating, chew on one side of his mouth, or start showing a marked preference for soft foods. You may also notice tartar buildup on Fido’s choppers, or see bloody smears on his toys and dishes. There may be some behavioral markers as well. For instance, your furry pal may start acting grumpy or withdrawn and/or lose interest in play.

Home Care

Brushing your pup’s teeth is one of the best ways to keep them healthy. You’ll need to get Fido used to the process. Start by just rubbing his teeth and gums with your finger. Offer lots of praise and treats to sweeten the deal. Slowly work up to using a pet toothbrush and/or toothpaste. Only use products made specifically for dogs. Human toothbrushes and toothpastes aren’t safe for Fido! If you aren’t having any luck, ask your vet for advice on using dental-formula treats, kibble, or chews. Other products, such as oral rinses and dental flakes, can also help.

Exams

Regular exams are just as important for our canine companions as they are for us. Fido should have his teeth checked at least once a year, starting at age one. At home, keep a close eye out for the symptoms we’ve listed above. If you notice any of them, call your vet immediately.

Please reach out to us, your Pelham, ON vet clinic, for all your pup’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!