Canine Dental Care

by Nancy Boland

Brushing your dogs’ teeth and general canine dental care is something that is highly recommended by vets in order to avoid dental problems developing in later life. However, not all dog owners are fully on board with this yet, and if your dog is older you might never be!

Even if you do follow a strict routine of teeth brushing  cleaning, your dog might still potentially develop dental issues as they get older, and there are some dental problems that tooth cleaning simply cannot prevent. It is important for all dog owners to be aware of the signs and symptoms of potential problems with the teeth. Here are a few signs there may be a problem.

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Bad breath

Dogs have a certain and very distinctive doggy smell, but their breath should not be rancid! It will never smell fresh but their  breath should not smell rotten unless there is an underlying dental issue.

Eating delicately

Dogs usually love their food and rarely take their time to savour each mouthful, unless of course there is a problem. If your dog appears to eat very delicately, picking up one piece of food at time and taking some time to chew it, they may be having issues with their teeth.

Slobbering excessively when eating

Dogs with droopy upper lips, such as the Boxer dog and the Bassett Hound are particularly prone to drooling and this is normal for them to do this this, and if your dog slobbers regularly without eating then there is usually not a problem.

However, if your dog does not tend to drool unduly at other times but appears to slobber a lot or produce excess saliva only when eating, this is worth investigating for underlying problems.

Chewing on one side of the mouth

If your dog always seems to chew on one side of their mouth and actively avoids chewing in a certain area, there might well be a problem in this area that is causing them pain, such as an abscess or a rotten/broken tooth.

Going off their food completely

If your dog loses their enthusiasm over their food in general and seems reluctant to eat, this can be indicative of a huge variety of issues including dental issues. Dental problems and dental pain are conditions that are important to consider if your dog goes off their food, as eating might prove to provide more pain than pleasure if their teeth are not in good condition.

What to look out for when inspecting teeth

Inspecting your dog’s teeth for the signs of dental problems can be a challenge,especially if your dog is new to this. By all means inspect your dog’s own teeth for the signs of obvious problems, but don’t forget that just because you cannot see anything amiss doesn’t mean that there is no issue.

Sore, inflamed gums, excessive plaque, loose, rotting or missing teeth, sore spots, lumps or abscesses are all problems that will require help from your vet to correct. Always consult with your vet if you have any suspicions.

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