Over the course of his lifetime your dog’s teeth will get quite a workout, and dental disease is very common, even young dogs. That’s why as a pet owner, dental health should be a priority.
It starts when you first bring your new pup home. It’s a good idea to get him used to the idea of having his teeth examined from an early age. Get a soft toothbrush, wait until he is calm and settled and have a play with him (gently) by opening his mouth and letting him chew on the brush. Do this regularly and he’ll have no problem with you – or the vet – examining his teeth and gums. His teeth will fall out around four months of age, so don’t worry if you see baby teeth lying around.
Get to know your dog’s teeth. You’ll notice he has canines (which are the large pointy teeth) at the front of his mouth. These help him grab toys and food. The incisors are those little teeth that he uses for nibbling. While the premolars and molars are used for moving found around his mouth, and for grinding.
Do your bit for his dental care by brushing regularly and offering him dental biscuits and bones. Brushing will help with his front teeth but it might be hard to reach those molars at the back. That’s where those biscuits, chews and bones come in handy. Be aware though that some bones can chip and damage your dog’s teeth, so keep an eye on him while he chews. Some bones might just be too tough for your dog, so have a chat to your vet about the best options for dental health.
Keep an eye out for signs of dental disease, such as bad breath and drooling. If he is pawing at his mouth or having trouble eating, get him to the vet for a dental check-up. He might just need a good scale and clean, but if there are more serious problems your vet might recommend an extraction to halt the infection and avoid further damage.
Your vet might also recommend a special dental diet. Don’t ever put your dog on a diet yourself – only do so from a vet’s recommendation – as you might do more harm than good. Or at least you might be paying for expensive pet food that has no real affect on your dog’s dental health.