Keeping your pet’s teeth healthy is an easy way to add years to their lifespan. As periodontal disease is the number one preventable health problem for small dogs, start minding those canines today with some simple first steps toward a lifetime of great dental health whether it’s a new pup in the home or a senior pet.

1. Pay Attention to Your Pet’s Dental Health:
Check their teeth and gums regularly. Healthy canine and feline teeth are white. Discolored teeth indicate that something isn’t right. Red, swollen or bleeding gums also require attention, as do loose teeth. Bad breath in adult dogs and cats isn’t normal and usually indicates a problem with your pet’s dental health. 

2. Fight Tartar Build-up: 
Quality dental chews remove tartar and plaque and keep teeth healthy and strong. Dogs build up tartar and plaque just like humans. Raw beef marrow bones (not cooked) can keep your dog’s teeth free of tartar as the gnawing motion scrapes ‘gunk’ off your dog’s teeth. Braided Bully Sticks or other longer lasting chews like Bully Spring Dog Chew actually massage the gum line and remove tartar. Twistex for dogs clean teeth and freshen breath. Raw carrots are also a great choice.

3. Brush Regularly:
Regular brushing with a pet toothbrush and toothpaste is an important part of preventive dental care. Small pet toothbrushes allow you to get comfortably inside their mouth to clean. Be patient and gentle introducing this new routine into your pet’s life.

Tips on getting started: In order to get your pet comfortable with you handling and examining their mouth, start by holding your pet’s head steady and gently stroke the outside of the muzzle with your fingers. Speak calmly and make it quick-30 seconds is fine. After this “desensitizing” drill, make sure to reward them with a treat, to make it a positive experience. Once your pet is used to you handling their mouth, next, use a few fingers and gently rub their teeth to get them used to the brushing sensation. To create a natural transition between using your fingers and a pet toothbrush, try dipping the toothbrush in beef juice or use pet toothpaste. Always praise with a treat after brushing and try to be consistent with your habits.

If your pet has serious dental problems, we recommend a visit to your vet for an evaluation. You veterinarian can perform extractions if necessary and treat gum infections caused by bacteria.