northwood animal hospital employee hugging a dog

Healthy Teeth For Your Pets: A Step-By-Step Guide

Taking good care of our pet's teeth is essential to their overall health. The best way to prevent dental disease in pets is to establish good oral hygiene habits early on—ideally, as soon as their adult teeth come in. Dental disease can cause pain and infection and even affect internal organs. In fact, periodontal disease is believed to afflict at least 80% of the US dog population.


How To Tell If Your Pet Might Be Developing Dental Problems?

You can't tell how severe your pet's periodontal disease is just by looking at the teeth; you need to check below the gum line. To make sure your pet is comfortable with you touching its mouth, try tickling it under the chin. 


The gums should be salmon-colored, not red (a sign of inflammation), and the teeth off-white with minimal tartar. Tartar can build up under the gum line and may be difficult to see during regular exams, so pets should regularly visit their veterinarians for dental cleanings.


Pets often mask their pain, which is why you should observe them carefully for these signs:

  • Bad breath
  • Dropping food from the mouth while eating
  • Avoiding touches on the snout area or head
  • Weight loss
  • Chewing on only one side of the mouth
  • Bloody saliva
  • Receding gums


Four Steps To Maintain Your Pet's Dental Health

Find The Right Tools.

To brush your dog's teeth at home, you'll need a specialized pet-friendly toothbrush and, ideally, a vet-recommended brand of toothpaste that is safe for dogs. Because pets can't spit out toothpaste, it is not a good idea to use human toothpaste on them. Human toothpaste contains fluoride, which may upset your dog's stomach, and xylitol—which is toxic to dogs.

Find The Right Time To Brush.

It's not a good idea to brush your dog's teeth when they're bursting with energy. You should instead brush your dog's teeth after an enjoyable walk or just before falling asleep when they are relaxed and in a good mood—for example, after coming home from an enjoyable walk or just before going to bed.

Make Use Of Dental Treats And Toys.

Dental treats are an excellent way to keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy. They come in different flavors, and many dogs love them. Some dental chews contain chlorhexidine or enzymes to clean the mouth.

It is essential to discuss ingredients and other information about chews with your veterinarian before giving them to your pet. Dental chews are hard, so they can be a choking hazard. Pets need to be supervised while eating them.

Get Your Vet Involved.

Regular dental exams are just as crucial for your pet as they are for you and your family. It is essential to consult your vet on the best ways to maintain your dog's dental health. Plan annual dental cleanings to ensure your dog's teeth are healthy and glowing.


Northwood Animal Hospital Is Proud To Provide The Best Pet Dental Care In San Antonio.

If you want the best care for your pet, you should only turn to the best. For decades, Northwood Animal Hospital has provided loving, high-quality service to pets and treats them like family. 

Give us a call to schedule an appointment if your furry friend needs dental care in San Antonio.


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