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Improving Your Dog’s Dental Health

June 15, 2014

Since oral disorders are some of the most common health maladies that veterinarians treat dogs for, it’s important to be proactive about your dog’s dental health at home. Use these simple guidelines from a Black Hills vet to keep your pooch’s mouth in great shape.

Feed a Quality Diet

Your pet’s dental health starts with what’s going in her mouth—her dog food! Make sure you’re feeding your pooch a high-quality diet with the right balances of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbs, and other nutrients. Some dogs benefit from specially-formulated diets that target specific aspects of health, including dental! Ask your vet to recommend a good product.

Test the Breath

Sit down with your dog every once in a while and try to get a whiff of her breath. Not pleasant? That’s okay, but take note that especially offensive or rotten-smelling breath could indicate problems with the mouth or internal organs. If you think your dog’s breath warrants a professional opinion, contact your vet right away.

Exam Teeth Regularly

Once a week or so, set aside time to examine your dog’s mouth at home. Sit down in a quiet, low-traffic area and gently open your dog’s jaws. Lift up the lips and examine the teeth and gums. Gums should be a healthy pink, and teeth should be free of cracks, fractures, or excessive brown tartar build-up. Of course, obvious bleeding or swelling should be looked at by a vet.

Brushing Sessions

Did you know you can brush your dog’s teeth at home? First, purchase a dog-specific toothpaste and brush from a pet supply store. Before using them, gently massage your dog’s teeth and gums with a finger to get her used to the feeling. Then, slowly introduce the paste and brush. Go in small, circular motions, one tooth at a time.

Consult your vet for more information on brushing your dog’s teeth, and ask for a quick demonstration if needed.

Visit Your Vet

Don’t forget that regular veterinary visits are a great way to keep your dog’s dental health—and overall well-being—in peak condition. Set up an appointment with your Black Hills veterinarian today to get your dog examined.

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