You may only swing by your dog's animal hospital for a yearly check-up and shots. However, you should be taking your dog in for dental visits too.
Dogs Explore the World with Their Teeth
When your dog was little, he or she would chew toys in order to relieve pain from incoming adult teeth. When your dog is grown, he or she still loves to chew because this is a natural behavior that releases anxiety and boredom, and this action actually strengthens their teeth and gums.
What Happens if You Don't Take Your Dog in For Dental Cleanings?
Some dogs can get away without dental cleanings for a long time, but it can catch up with them. Like humans, dogs will develop bacteria that can infect teeth and inflame gums. This makes chewing more difficult for your dog. You may notice that your dog is having difficulty eating or not playing with his or her toys.
If their condition gets very bad, your dog could develop abscesses and loose teeth. Some dogs have oral bacteria that gets so bad that it spreads throughout the body. For instance, your dog could develop kidney failure from dental bacteria!
Animal Hospital Dental Cleanings
Contact your local animal hospital and schedule a dental appointment. Many vets offer services offer teeth cleanings, periodontal therapy, trauma repair, and endodontic therapy.
During a cleaning, your dog will be put under anesthesia so that he or she isn't stressed out. The anesthesia is very important for those with serious dental issues, since the vet may need to deep clean below the gumline.
If your dog has severe issues that will take a couple of dental appointments to repair, consider buying soft food or softening up dry food with water so that chewing isn't painful. You want your dog to get the proper nutrition.
Follow up with At-home Care
Besides taking your dog in for a dental appointment, be sure to do your part at home. Pet stores have toothpaste and toothbrushes specifically for dogs. Do not try to clean your dog's teeth with toothpaste that is geared towards humans! If your dog is hesitant with cleanings at first, reward him or her with a treat afterward.
There are some chewy treats which are designed to promote saliva and clean teeth. If your dog is stubborn and won't let you brush his or her teeth, use these treats between vet dental cleanings.
Contact an animal hospital for more information.