CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Dr. Frances Deller, with Long Animal Hospital in Charlotte, is talking about what you should do to keep your dog's teeth healthy.
Regularly brushing your dog's teeth, along with a healthy diet and plenty of chew toys, can go a long way toward keeping her mouth healthy.
Bacteria and plaque-forming foods can cause build-up on a dog's teeth. This can harden into tartar, potentially causing gingivitis, receding gums and tooth loss.
Many pooches show signs of gum disease by the time they're four years old because they aren't provided with proper mouth care.
"Brushing your dog's teeth is great and if you can't do it, you know, they do have to undergo anethesia to get their teeth cleaned but I equate to kind of getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist," Dr. Deller said.
Dogs should have their mouths screened during regular exams, and all pets should get twice-yearly dental checkups when they reach their senior years.
Dentals are not about cosmetics, but rather keeping important teeth in your pet's mouth and keeping your pet comfortable.
So even though they do have to undergo anethesia, which does have its risks, it's very important for their health to kind of get those teeth cleaned when it is needed.
And there's also some other products you can use kind of in between tooth cleanings to help keep the tartar out of their teeth.
Give your pooch treats that are specially formulated to keep canine teeth healthy, and ask your vet about a specially formulated dry food that can slow down the formation of plaque and tartar.
Chew toys are also a great way to satisfy your dog's natural desire to chomp while making his or her teeth strong.
Gnawing on a chew toy can help massage the gums and keep teeth clean by scraping away soft tartar, plus it also reduces your dog's overall stress level and prevents boredom. Ask your vet to recommend toxin-free rawhide, nylon and rubber chew toys.
There's powders and water additives, that you can put in the food, if your dog won't let you brush their teeth