According to Banfield Pet Hospital, dental care is important for all pets, but especially for senior pets. “Chronic tartar accumulation and gingivitis can adversely affect other organs of the body such as the heart, liver and kidneys.”
The good news is that with regular care, you can keep your dog’s teeth, gums and mouth healthy. Here’s how:
Brush Your Dog’s Teeth at Home
According to Christopher Bern, DVM, of Banfield Pet Hospital, brushing your dog’s teeth is key to good overall care. ”To be effective this must be done a minimum of 3-5 days per week. Some pets will not tolerate a full toothbrush, so in these cases try a brush that slides over your finger. Use only toothpaste for pets as they are better tasting and safe to swallow,” he suggests.
Schedule Annual Teeth Cleanings With Your Vet
As a pet parent to a senior dog, you should visit your vet at least twice a year, according to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). When you do, your vet will typically inspect your dog’s teeth, mouth and gums. Banfield Pet Hospital recommends professional dental cleanings by your vet once a year.
Give Your Dog Chew Toys
The American Animal Hospital Association recommends that pet parents give their dogs chew toys to help with dental care. “Provide chew toys that help massage your pet’s gums and keep their teeth clean,” AAHA’s dental care guidelines suggest.
Be Aware of the Signs of Dental Disease
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), pet owners should be on the lookout for signs that dental disease might already be present. If you notice any of the following symptoms, schedule an appointment with your vet immediately.
- Bad breath – Most pets have breath that is less than fresh, but if it becomes truly repugnant, that’s a sign that periodontal disease has already started.
- Frequent pawing or rubbing at the face and/or mouth.
- Reluctance to eat hard foods.
- Red swollen gums and brownish teeth.
Good dental care can make a big difference in your senior dog’s health and comfort so don’t hesitate…start your dog’s healthy mouth regimen today!