One in every eight dogs in the UK suffers from dental disease every year, with gum and tooth disease being the most common health issue for Britain’s dogs. For Pet Dental Health Month, dog food company Percuro are sharing their top tips on maintaining your dog’s pearly whites – as well as the most common signs of dental disease.
The Covid-19 pandemic prompted a massive increase in the number of dog and pet owners in the UK, highlighting the nation’s love for our four-legged friends – however a recent study by the Royal Veterinary College found that one in every eight dogs suffers from dental disease every year.
Gum and tooth disease is currently the most common health issue for Britain’s dogs, higher even than both ear infections and obesity. Which is why February has been dedicated as Pet Dental Health Month to help raise awareness of this growing issue.
The best way to ensure healthy teeth and gums in your dog and prevent plaque build-up is to introduce regular brushing as part of their routine
If left untreated, dental disease can cause tooth loss, and it can lead to painful abscesses and systemic infections throughout your dog’s entire body – and some studies have even linked long-term dental disease to an increased risk in heart disease.
So how can you keep your dog’s teeth clean and what are the most common signs of periodontal disease you should be on the lookout for? Entovegan dog food brand, Percuro have shared their top tips on how to keep your pooch’s teeth pearly white and how to tell when it may be time to visit a vet.
Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
Just like with your own teeth, the best way to ensure healthy teeth and gums in your dog and prevent plaque build-up is to introduce regular brushing as part of their routine. Thankfully you won’t need to brush them every day, although as with most things the more you can do the better.
Most dogs will be a little unsure to begin with, but there are a number of ways you can try to make the process a little easier for both you and your pooch. For example, a lot of dog toothpastes come in chicken or peanut butter flavour and you can also buy special brushes that go over your fingertip which some dogs may find more comfortable (and looks less like a chew toy) than a typical toothbrush.
It is best to start this practice as early as possible, and sometimes it may take a little perseverance and experimentation before you can get into a solid routine.
The Importance of Diet
Not all dog foods have the same ingredients, and just like our own food some products can be high in sugars and other additives that can contribute to dental problems. Which is why researching which brand and even type of food you give your pooch is always best practice.
Dry food is generally considered to be better than soft or wet, partly because the abrasiveness of biscuits can provide a natural cleaning of teeth.
However, dog food has come a long way over recent years and there are now a myriad of different diets for owners to consider including the likes of raw or even alternative-protein brands.
As Denise Saber, Co-Founder at Percuro explains, because of its 100% natural ingredient list the entovegan dog food could actually help prevent gum and dental issues in dogs.
Just as with choosing the right diet, not all chew toys or treats are good for dogs
Denise says, “At Percuro we take a very holistic approach to pet health, just like with humans if there is something wrong in one part of the body you will often see symptoms elsewhere. Gum disease is one of the leading dental problems in dogs and it is often down to inflammation of the gums. Diet can play a huge role in tackling this inflammation, although it’s not an area many other food brands are currently talking about.
“Many of our ingredients, such as Algae oil, have a natural anti-inflammatory effect which when coupled with other natural ingredients rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids can support your pet’s immune system. Pet health is at the cornerstone of what we do at Percuro, and our food was built from the ground up with this goal in mind. Every ingredient was carefully selected for the benefits it can have on both body and mind for our four-legged family members from being hypoallergenic, to antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.”
Dogs love to chew, whether it be on your slippers or a tasty treat, but it turns out that chewing can actually be pretty beneficial for your pup’s oral hygiene. And that’s because the natural act of gnawing on something can help scrape away potential plaque build-up.
But just as with choosing the right diet, not all chew toys or treats are good for dogs. Although incredibly popular rawhide chews have been linked to a number of incidents requiring surgery and sometimes even pet death.
Natural is always best, and the same holds true with dog chews. Uncooked bones or other natural treats such as water buffalo horn or deer antlers can be ideal for helping to remove plaque but remember all treats and chews should be given while supervised and it’s worth remembering some harder chews can actually cause tooth damage in smaller breeds or on weaker teeth.
Pay A Professional
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your pet’s teeth is to book them in for a professional cleaning by a vet. Vets are trained in what’s best for your dog’s teeth and will be able to address any issues they find.
And although this option is a little more expensive than some of the others, vets are professionals meaning they can often spot issues that might go unnoticed by even the most dedicated dog owner.
When To See A Vet
Whether you brush your dog’s teeth or not, experts say you should have a look inside their mouth every week or so, to give yourself the best chance of catching any symptoms of dental disease early.
If you notice any of the below signs of dental problems, then it may be time to take your dog to the vet:
- Bad breath
- Blood on their toys
- Change in eating or dog chewing habits
- Pawing at the face or mouth
- Excessive drooling
- Misaligned or missing teeth
- Favouring one side of their mouth when eating or chewing
- Discoloured, broken, missing or crooked teeth
- Red, swollen, painful or bleeding gums
- Yellowish-brown tartar crust along the gum line
- Bumps or growths within the mouth