Most of us agree that maintaining good dental hygiene practices are not only aesthetically important, they also make a big difference to our lives. Why should the same not be true for man’s best friend as well as man?
Indeed, the facts support this idea. Many dogs have already developed signs of gum disease before they reach four years of age, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). And when the mouth is unhealthy, the rest of the body often follows. While your dog may not always want to open wide for a brushing, it’s worth taking the time.
In fact, Dr Jan Bellows, a Diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College, believes good dental hygiene can increase a dog’s life span by as much as a third. “When a client asks me how long their puppy will live, I usually respond 15-17 years if you brush their teeth daily … 11-13 years if you don't,” Dr Bellows told petMD.
Longevity is, naturally, one of the biggest concerns for pet owners. A 10-year observation conducted by Eukanuba found that more 90% of labradors who were fed on a balanced meaty diet and given appropriate care by their owners outlived their expected lifespan of 12 years, with many surpassing the 16-year mark. And for dogs who live to 16 years of age, they have generally outlived their breed’s typical lifespan by 30%.
Spotting trouble with Spot
Many owners never become aware of their dog’s dental turmoil simply because they never take a look inside their pet’s mouth. A weekly check of your pooch’s gums and teeth is important to nip any problems in the bud and make sure you can take appropriate action in time.
The first tell-tale sign of potential dental trauma is bad breath. While all dogs naturally have unpleasant-smelling breath, a particularly offensive oral odour could be a sign that your dog has developed complications and should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.
Among others, the problems which could develop in your dog’s mouth include:
- Gingivitis. This inflammation of the gums is brought on by a build-up of tartar, bacteria and plaque.
- Periodontal disease. This infection begins in between the gums and teeth, often leading to the loss of teeth, and can spread painfully throughout the body.
- Swollen gums. These are an early indication that food is becoming lodged in the dog’s teeth and can lead to further complications like those mentioned above.
- Mouth tumours. These unsightly lumps often have to be removed with a surgical procedure.
- Proliferating gum disease. This occurs when the gums are allowed to grow over the teeth – it’s most common in terriers and boxers.
What can be done?
You can avoid the intrusion and risk involved with surgery to combat dental problems by simply avoiding them in the first place. This is most easily achieved by treating your dog’s mouth as you would your own – that means daily brushing, regular check-ups and immediate action in the case of discovering symptomatic signs. Canine-specific brushes and toothpastes can be readily obtained at your local pet store, while dental-enhancing chews can improve tooth strength and resilience even further.
Don’t skimp when it comes to your dog’s long-term health. Paying close attention and due care to canine teeth and gums can enrich their quality of life no end – and even add significant years to their lifespan. You want long in the tooth, not wrong in the tooth!
Disclosure: (As required by the FTC) This is a paid sponsored post