Dog breath be gone!
SUMMARY: Same as with humans, bad breath can be a sign of a larger overall health problem. To pet parents: stop it in its tracks.
Posted: October 11, 2013
Your adorable pooch is the only family member who showers you with kisses when you return home from work. Yet sometimes trusty old Max has such bad dog breath, you have to cut hellos short.
Just like oral health in humans, a dog's breath can be the symptom of his or her overall health. We brush our own teeth twice each day, but when it comes to our dogs, we brush their teeth every...six months? Many pet parents don't think twice of that cringe-worthy stink coming from their month. Now is high time to change our ways. It might save you money for future operations, and has the possibility to lengthen your dog's healthy years.
Doggy breath originates from bacterial plaque build-up in a dirty mouth. That brownish-black gunk on the lower part of their teeth - that's the culprit. It comes from eating a countless number of meals without brushing and fetching slobbery toys. As a consequence, the dental bacteria travels into the bloodstream and throughout the body.
In fact, up to 80 percent of dogs older than three have some type of tooth or gum disease, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society. If left untreated, tooth and gum problems can lead to halitosis, trouble eating, swollen and bleeding gums and tooth loss. Later down the line, it can cause even more severe health issues, such as heart, liver or kidney disease.
"A majority of the dogs that I treat have bad teeth because their owners didn't take any preventative measures," explains Dr. Elizabeth Cohen, practicing veterinarian and author. "As a result, these dogs are forced to undergo expensive cleanings that must be done under anesthesia. Brushing your dog's teeth shouldn't be a big chore, and certainly nothing to fear. Your dog depends on you to make the proper health choices for him, and dental care is one of them."
How do you get rid of poor dog breath?
• Brush their teeth frequently. They might not be inclined for a cleaning the first couple times, but usually they'll simmer down once it becomes a habit. A good time to try it is after your dog has gone on a walk, or received a solid amount exercise. He or she will be more likely to sit still then. Return to training basics and treat your dog to a healthy reward afterwards. Pretty soon, Spot might be looking forward to the cleaning!
Similarly, TheraBreath offers Dr. Katz for Pets, which combats odors produced by sulfur anaerobic bacteria. It has been proven time and time again through the use of oxygenating compounds.
• Chew bones and chew toys can help clean their teeth. Certain synthetic bones are specially designed to strengthen your dog's teeth and gums. However, avoid chew toys made from polyvinyl chloride, a cheap rubbery plastic. Although the texture on the outside might be good for chewing, the chemicals inside - known as phthalates - can increase risk of kidney, liver and reproductive problems.
In other words, look for toys designated "phthalate free," and make sure they're not excessively tough. Dig your fingernail into the toy; if you can't make a dent, it won't be safe for your dog.
• Schedule check-ups with your veterinarian every six to twelve months. Just as you don't go to the dentist only when there's a problem, your dog needs maintenance more often than when his teeth are blackened to the tips with plaque and anaerobic bacteria.
Doggy dental care can be a hassle, but staying proactive now will save you money down the line and keep both you and your pup smiling!