Dr.Sheena Thamman*

“With dogs, things are different. Our world and their world swirled up together long ago like two different shades of paint. Once we achieve a commingled orange, there is no going back to red and yellow.”

We speak a dog’s language better than we think we do. We may not be fluent; that would require actually being a dog. But if we went to live in a dogs-only world, we would be pretty good at understanding what they’re saying. We can tell a nervous yip from a menacing growl, a bark that says hello from a bark that says get lost. We can read the body language that says happy, that says sad, that says tired, that says scared, that says Please, please, please play with me right now! Think that’s not a big deal? Then answer this: What does a happy bird look like? A sad lion? We might not be able to understand them, but dogs, yes we get it. We grew up in a world in which dogs are everywhere and simply came to understand them.

Spending a lot of face time with your pooch is a fun time for both of you – until you get a whiff of his breath! Taking care of your dog’s teeth can do more than just freshen his breath – it could improve his quality of life.Being a Dentist, I am aware of the problems that go on in the mouth. It can be difficult to keep your dog’s teeth clean, so dental health problems are very common.More than 80% of dogs show signs of periodontal disease by the age of three. The accumulation of tartar and plaque results in the inflammation of the gums which we call as gingivitis. It can lead to more serious diseases. Without medical intervention, gingivitis or inflammation of the gum takes over and leads to bad breath. In worse cases it may lead to damage of the jawbones, and loss of teeth.

Owner’s different ability to examine their dog’s mouth and their knowledge concerning normal and pathologic dental conditions may considerably influence their assessment of their pet’s dental health. Dog owners may or may not be able to recognize the clinical signs of periodontal disease, e.g., halitosis, gingival inflammation, recession, and tooth mobility or tooth loss. The presence of dental calculus, visible to dog owners, is not indicative of periodontal disease, although it may indicate poor dental hygiene. 

Daily tooth brushing is considered the gold standard for prevention of periodontal disease development and progression. However, compliance to the recommendation of daily tooth brushing in veterinary patients is low. This may, in part, be explained by a lack of knowledge regarding dental disease, and an important factor to increase compliance may thus be to increase awareness of clinical signs of disease among dog owners. Additionally, dental home care is not possible without the dog owner being able to handle the dog’s mouth, which requires a certain amount of skill and training of both dog and owner. 

This process would have been simpler if pharmaceutical companies come up with a way to take care of a dog’s oral hygiene through chewable tablet of all sorts. In fact, with the advancement of science and technology, one has to expect medications tailored specifically to dogs so that they can be administered without hassle: perhaps as tablets that they can chew by themselves. Sadly, despite the urgency and immediacy of such a requirement, we are yet to get any such help.

Taking care of your dog’s teeth and giving them a healthy diet can decrease their risk of oral diseases later on. Brushing your dog’s teeth can be a great way to prevent plaque build-up. Unlike humans, you don’t need to brush their teeth daily. Your dog may not like having their teeth brushed at first, but making a routine out of it and getting them excited can help. You will need to use a dog toothbrush or a fingertip toothbrush for the brushing. Also a dog-specific toothpaste, avoid human toothpaste. Due to the chemical’s toxicity to dogs your vet  might advise you the right tools for brushing your pooches teeth.

I would love to share some tips forBrightening the Pearly Whites of the Fur Babies:

  • Create a calm atmosphere before brushing your dog’s teeth.
  • Make sure your dog is comfortable. 
  • Touch your dog’s teeth and gums without the brush first.
  • Touch the toothbrush to their teeth. 
  • Introduce the toothpaste to your dog by letting them lick it from your fingers. 
  • Add toothpaste to the toothbrush and start brushing.
  • Take it slow and move from the front to the back and the top to the bottom. 
  • Reward and praise along the way.

Chew toys are great ways for your dog to break the monotony and satisfy your pooches natural instinct to chew. Gnawing on chew toys is a natural way for dogs to clean their teeth. The constant chewing scrapes plaque from their teeth. Make sure to rotate and monitor safe chew toys.  

Once your dog has learned to tolerate brushing, trydoing it once a day will be most effectiveness. Brushing once a day can reduce future dental cleanings from the vet later on. 

Teeth brushing is the foundation of good oral health. We need to take good Dental care of our Fur babies, so that there are no problems faced by them in the future.

* Dr. Sheena Thamman a pet enthusiast and a dog lover is working as a Dental Radiologist and Lecturer at Manav Rachna dental college. She is also a pet parent to a dog and a cat.

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