Your dog's dental health is just as important as your own. Because your dog can't brush her teeth and practice good hygiene as you can, it's important you take care to protect her teeth. Failing to address dental problems in your dog can have serious repercussions. Luckily, maintaining good dental health for your pet is relatively simple and entails brushing her teeth, proper chew toys, and dental treats. Dogs aren't exactly known for minty-fresh breath. However, if you notice a particularly foul smell, it's time to take your dog to the veterinarian, especially if your dog has a decreased appetite, frequent urination, vomiting, or increased thirst. All of these can point to dental problems present in your dog. Oral problems can lead to heart disease, kidney disease and lung disease in your pet. It's important you begin checking your pet's dental health often to reduce the risk of these occurrences. It's estimated that 80% of dogs have dental disease. If youâ€™re not already doing so, check your dogâ€™s teeth regularly so she doesnâ€™t become sick. Begin a dental care routine by checking your dog's mouth periodically. Check to see if the gums are pink and healthy-looking. Purchase a toothbrush made especially for dogs, and begin brushing your pet's teeth regularly. It may take awhile for your dog to get used to the action, but keep at it. Be sure to use a vet-recommended toothpaste, not a fluoride-filled brand for humans. Many dog toothpastes feature dog-friendly flavors such as chicken or liver. You should try to brush your dog's teeth daily, if possible. If you can't, then at least do it weekly. Start out by lifting your dogâ€™s lip, and using your finger to rub her gums in circles, so she can get used to the motion. Be sure to reward her patience with a treat, so she forms a positive association. Place your dog in a comfortable position, so you can easily handle the brushing. Brush all of her teeth and the gum line in a circular motion, just like you would do for yourself. When finished, give your dog a treat and reward her with praise. Treats, food and toys will also help with your dog's dental health. One of the most popular options for your dog is dental chews. Dental chews can help reduce plaque and tartar. You can try giving your dog a chew, bone, or biscuit to help with their dental health. Rawhide chews are a particular favorite. If your dog is a heavy chewer, and goes through treats too quickly, you can use chew toys. Popular brands include Kong and Foster & Smith. These toys feature nubs that massage gums and loosen plaque. Some veterinarians may recommend a special diet for severe cases of poor dental health. Talk to your vet if you have any concerns about your pet's teeth. Combining a regular teeth-brushing routine with dental treats, toys and food will help your pet maintain good dental health.
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