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Secret Diary of a Pet Sitter - The Dirty on Canine Teeth

I admit, I’m one of ‘those’ pet owners. You know, the ones that don’t brush their dogs teeth often enough and at the same time am fearful of their best friend going under anesthesia so avoid it. It is a conundrum, but something has to be done!

So, I have come up with my top 5 ‘to do’s’ and top 2 ‘don’t do’s’ for your pets overall oral health. And keep this in mind as you go through this list….you can prevent or limit plaque, but it is difficult to near impossible to remove tartar without veterinarian intervention, which means anesthesia.

  1. Brush your dog's teeth. Every other day or every third day is fine. If you try to do it everyday you will likely fail, so why have that disappointment in your performance hanging over you. Brushing your pups teeth removes or reduces plaque, not tartar, which develops when the plaque gets out of control. Click here for toothbrushes and here for toothpasts.

  2. Give your dog chews and chew toys daily! Yep, it works. This is a list of veterinary dentist approved foods and treats on the market that have shown to reduce plaque and tartar build-up.

  3. Include kibble in your dogs diet. Veterinarians seem to be mixed on the benefits of kibble and oral health. I include it in my top 5 because its easy and may very likely work, if just a little. A tip that you already know about..if your doggie doesn’t like kibble, try smearing his/her wet dog food all over each piece of kibble. You’ll have to get your hands dirty!

  4. Consider Chlorhexidine. It’s a mouthful, linguistically and literally. Chlorhexidine kills plaque-causing bacteria, so your doggies teeth are cleaner and breath is fresher. Rinse your dogs mouth a couple of times a week, or daily if your not brushing.

  5. My favorite water! Healthy Mouth is clinically proven to reduce plaque by 76% in dogs in two independent clinical trials. This stuff works!

There are two don’t do’s I want to share with you.

  1. Don’t seriously consider the latest fad anesthesia-free pet dentistry (AFD) until you first talk with your veterinarian about it. The drivers for pet parents wanting to do this is the lower cost and no anesthesia risks. However, AFD may bring other risks and can leave patients to suffer silently from unrecognized dental problems.

  2. Don’t let the fear of anesthesia prevent you from getting your pet the clean and healthy teeth and gums he deserves. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 100,000 animals will have some sort of reaction to an anesthetic agent, from mild to severe. And guess what, your dog is just as much at risk getting into the car to go to the veterinary hospital for the procedure that requires anesthesia.

So there you have it, my dirty little secret about brushing my pups teeth and fear of anesthesia, and my solution to canine teeth and gum health.


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