Puppies, and dogs as well, need attention and time just the way a baby needs. Being a pet parent, we need to take absolute care, understand their needs and problems and create a life that keeps them healthy and happy.
Oral hygiene is an often ignored aspect of taking good care of our dogs and keeping them healthy. Just like humans, developing good oral hygiene for your puppy is also necessary to protect them from dental problems and other health issues that may appear in the long run.
According to Reasearchgate, 80% of dogs develop symptoms of periodontal diseases by the age of 3 years. Since the initial symptom of early dental disease is bad breath, it often goes unnoticed by pet parents as they assume it to be a natural phenomenon for dogs. But periodontal diseases can take a toll on your puppy’s health. Such untreated dental issues may cause tooth loss which may further lead to systemic infections and unpleasant abscesses all over the body of your canine companion. Permanent jaw damage and heart diseases have also been associated with periodontal issues.
Some other signs of oral diseases in puppies are:
- Excessive drooling
- Loose teeth
- Cysts around tongue area
- Swollen gums
- Tumour on gums
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Yellow-brown tartar
Oral Conditions Common in Puppies
Below are some of the oral diseases that can be threatening to your puppy’s health if left untreated:
Fractured teeth are usually caused due to hard nylon toys, antlers, ice cubes, rocks, etc. This kind of tooth condition with pulp exposure helps bacteria enter the tooth leading to extraction of that tooth or root canal therapy.
Cavities usually develop on the flat occlusal surface of the molars in dogs and have a brown or black colouration. Some cavities can be treated with a filling but if the cavity has infected the pulp canal then it has to be cured through extraction or root canal.
Bad or unpleasant breath in dogs is the result of bacteria build-up inside the mouth which requires immediate care. Professional cleaning and certain puppy dental chews can help improve bad breath.
Persistent Primary Teeth
In some cases, a puppy’s adult tooth starts growing even before the primary tooth has fallen out. This prevents the normal growth of the adult tooth in its suitable location inside the mouth. These types of teeth may also cause crowding leading to plaque accumulation and eventually other gum diseases. Extraction of the primary teeth as soon as possible is highly recommended to avoid a misaligned bite.
The discolouration of teeth occurs due to extensive chewing on sharp objects or blunt trauma to the mouth. The pink dentine is initially stained due to the bleeding of the pulp. In due course of time, the teeth turn purple or grey in colour. In such conditions, vets suggest a root canal treatment or tooth extraction.
Gingivitis occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to bacteria and toxins that accumulate on the teeth in the form of plaque. It is progressive and it results in tooth loss, infection, oral pain, bad breath and other complications.
Tips for Good Puppy Dental Hygiene
To avoid oral health problems in our puppy, how can we keep our puppy’s teeth clean and germ-free? Here are some tips to maintain the dental health and hygiene of your furry baby:
The act of chewing itself benefits your puppy’s oral health. Dogs that chew actively have lower chances of plaque build-up. There are a number of dog chews and most of them are equipped with teeth-cleaning properties. The gnawing takes off plaque from a puppy’s teeth and the natural enzymes help promote dental health.
Churpi treats make for great dental chews. These dog teeth cleaning treats are made from the finest Himalayan cheese (locally called Churpi), smoke-dried for 35 days for extra hardness. It is 100% natural, vegetarian and rich in calcium and protein. It is free from preservatives, added colours and chemicals, grain and gluten. Moreover, the small size makes it the best chew for puppies. These chews help to remove plaque and tartar and its rich, cheesy flavour removes bad breath. It is also very hard and thus lasts for a long time, keeping your puppy engaged. Chewing on them also helps strengthen their jaws. These chews are healthier alternatives to antlers, rawhides and bully sticks, which come processed with harmful chemicals. Dogsee treats become soft and tender on chewing while making the gums and teeth strong.
A softer version of these hard bars is Crunchies. While hard bars are smoked and sun-dried to perfection for 35 days for extra hardness, the Crunchies are heated at an optimum temperature to make the texture rich and crunchy. These treats are ideal for puppies who are not yet ready for hard chewing. These treats also help maintain your pup’s skin healthy and coat shiny.
Regular brushing can prevent plaque buildup to a great extent. It is not necessary to brush your puppy’s teeth daily but brushing 3-4 times a week is good for their dental health. Always opt for a toothpaste that is specifically meant for puppies and dogs since it’s generally available in different flavours like chicken or peanut butter. So even if they are reluctant at first, the flavours might intrigue them into brushing their teeth. Toothpaste that is made for humans contains certain ingredients that can prove to be harmful and toxic for your pets. Try using a canine toothbrush or a finger toothbrush with soft bristles which are gentle on their gums.
Tooth wipes are an easy-to-use solution for those pet parents whose puppies are not too fond of brushing their teeth or who prefer to upgrade their cleaning techniques. These wipes are meant to be rubbed against your puppy’s teeth to help remove plaque and tartar. Tooth wipes are similar to toothbrushes but they cannot give your pet’s teeth a spotless and a perfect clean.
For pet parents, teething is a very important part of their pup’s life. During their teething time, they have a natural desire to chomp. Hence, provide your puppies with specially designed chew toys which will not only save your sofa sets, bed and pillows but will also teach them to be patient. Mildly coarse toys will also keep your furry baby’s gums strong and teeth clean by removing soft tartar. But pet parents should be careful while selecting the toys and should always opt for products that are toxin-free and claim to control plaque over the ones that have a tartar claim. Chew toys like hard nylon toys, antler dried cow hooves, large raw hood toys and natural bones should be avoided as these are hard enough to fracture a puppy’s teeth.
Schedule Professional Check-ups
One of the best ways to ensure your furball’s oral health and dental hygiene is to get him/her examined by a veterinarian for professional cleaning. Since the vet is experienced, he/she will have knowledge in locating, treating and preventing any issues that go unnoticed by dog parents. Puppies should be taken to the vet at least twice a year for a dental check-up and their teeth should be cleaned annually.
With professional advice from the vet, provide your pup with specially formulated dry foods that help slow down the formation of plaque and tartar on their teeth with kibbles that are designed to promote chewing.
All dogs love treats and with dental chews that are healthy puppy treats, you can keep your puppy’s teeth healthy and clean. These treats specifically help remove plaque and tartar buildup and also contain ingredients that refresh breath and clean their mouth.
Dogsee’s grain-free dog treats are 100% natural, vegetarian and preservative-free. These treats are free from artificial flavours and colors and are available in various product ranges – Dogsee Chew Long-lasting Hard Bars and Dogsee Chew Soft and Crunchy puffed treats.
A strong commitment from pet parents is what it takes to keep their pet’s teeth clean and their overall dental health in check. The veterinarians will do their job of recommending dental cleaning essentials when needed and performing oral examinations on a regular basis. However, at-home dental care like brushing their teeth and providing them with the right dog treats and chews will enhance the entire process of dental care. Maintain a strong oral health care plan for your puppies and you will be glad to not only keep their teeth shiny and clean and their breath smelling fresh. This way, you can also prevent frequent expensive dental visits to your vet in the long run.