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Let's face it. When it comes to dental care of our own teeth, we could all be better about it so why not also consider our dogs' dental health and oral health.

When you neglect your dog's oral health, their overall wellness can be affected by various symptoms and health issues. The important thing as a dog owner is to beat these things to the punch by being proactive about caring for your dogs' teeth and gums.

What should you know about dog dental health? What diseases and conditions await dogs who are neglected in their dental wellness? Here's what you need to know.

Poor Dental Care Leads to Periodontal Disease

According to the Mayo Clinic, "Periodontitis is common but fairly preventable. The cause is usually poor oral hygiene. Periodontitis can lead to tooth loss. It's a risk factor for heart and lung diseases."

To describe the disease that on average affects 80% of dogs by the time they reach 3-years-old, it's a buildup of bacteria that forms layers of film over your dogs teeth that are then calcified by your dog's saliva. As a result of this tartar buildup, your dog's mouth can be afflicted by gingivitis.

The symptoms of periodontal disease include redness, inflammation, and tendered gums with treatment involving a professional cleaning of the pockets around your dog's teeth. If the disease has reached a severe stage then the professional cleaning may not be enough and your dog may need surgery.

Poor Dental Care Leads to Tooth Loss

When your dog's teeth are impacted by prolonged damage, and without care, your dog may experience tooth loss. This can be an uncomfortable and painful experience for your dog. In addition to that, your dog's ability to chew on their regular food is hindered. By seeking professional cleaning, you decrease the risk of this loss, care for their periodontal health, etc. maintaining their overall health.

Poor Dental Care Can Lead to Organ Damage

Sounds pretty wild, right? But it's true. When you neglect your dog's dental care - skipping regular dental cleanings among other things - that bacteria building up in your dog's mouth as plaque can enter your dog's bloodstream and cause a heap of problems.

When the bacteria enters the bloodstream and travels, it can spread to your dog's heart, kidneys, and liver and make your dog sick. And of course, like most risks surrounding the heart, the continued lack of care and attention to the plaque accumulation can increase the risk of heart disease or heart failure.

Signs You Should Be Taking Better Care of Your Dog's Dental Health

What are the symptoms you should keep an eye out for when it comes to your dog's dental health? To avoid dental disease, take a look at this list and decide if it's time to up your dog's dental care.

  • Bad breath
  • Inflamed gums
  • Visible distress of the gumline
  • Redness of the gums
  • Irritation of the dog's mouth

What should pet owners know?

Here's a quick list of pro-tips to keep in mind.

  • When it comes to home care, rushing your dog's teeth can cut down on the plaque buildup.
  • The gumline is where most of this plaque will buildup and fester so keep that in mind when you reach for a dog toothbrush.
  • There are dental chews and dental treats that pet owners can find in-store and online. A popular treat that is marketed for dental care comes from Greenies.
  • Don't use human toothpaste. Most of the human toothpastes on the market contain Xylitol which is an artificial sweetener that can be toxic to your dog. Instead, reach for dog toothpaste (with your dog's toothbrush or finger brush) which is equally as available and comes in various flavors your pup will enjoy.
  • Don't skip dental cleanings! We know trips to the vet and veterinarian's office can be hard, but it's in your dog's best interest.
  • Professional dental cleanings at the veterinarian are done under a general anesthesia. With cleanings taking about 45 to 75 minutes, you can expect the effects of the anesthesia to wear off roughly 20 minutes after the dental cleaning is over.

The Benefits of Dog Dental Care

When you keep up with your dog's oral health, you prevent the possibility of having to fork out more money for expensive medications and procedures. Not only that, the biggest payoff is that you get to enjoy more time with your dog because by having your dog's teeth cleaned and cared for, you're warding off dental disease, oral disease, kidney disease, EVERYTHING that neglect of oral health can lead to.

This is just a sampling of tips and informational posts we offer at Joyride Harness. You can find more content including tips and tricks and how-tos for caring for your dog on our blog in this section.

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