February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Seriously! Our first dog, Angus, taught us a lot about good dental care in dogs. He suffered quite a bit due to poor dental hygiene, possibly even losing his sense of smell due to an infection that had made it's way into his sinuses. I knew then that I would start my puppies out with at least an attempt at better dental hygiene. Unfortunately pets lose teeth and sometimes their lives because of periodontal diseases that are for the most part preventable. And it's so easy to brush their teeth if approached in a loving and patient manner. Also, never use human toothpaste. Consider that your dog cannot rinse and spit. Human toothpaste was not meant to be swallow and can make dogs very ill. You can buy special toothpaste specifically for your dog. In addition to brushing the boys' teeth, we use Science Diet's t/d as treats. It helps to clean the teeth because when they bite into it the tooth is momentarily stuck in it, being scraped on it's way free. T/d can be purchased at your vet's office. When your dogs do begin to develop tartar it's time to start getting yearly teeth cleanings by a Veterinary Dentist. For most dogs, this is around about a year old, but for Brodie it was 3 because of his good dental practices. Bradley will probably be much sooner since he didn't take to all this as well (previous post.) Also ask your vet about the Porphyromonas Bacterin vaccine for periodontis which is the first and only vaccine to aid in the prevention of canine periodontitis which affects 85% of dogs over 3 years of age.
So make a plan for your pup's dental health. And remember, the best part about a dog with a clean mouth is that the kisses are all that much sweeter. And chances are, you'll get to enjoy those kisses for a lot longer.