What is periodontal disease in Pets?
In humans, tartar builds up if we do not remove it by brushing. Likewise in animals, tartar builds up if it is not removed by chewing on raw bones or other gnawing toys, or by brushing. Tartar then develops into calculus, which is the visible hard, yellowy, mineral buildup. Then the gums recede from around the teeth and other supporting structures for the teeth are weakened, leading to tooth infections and tooth loss. This process is called periodontal disease, and is one of the most common problems affecting dogs today.
What signs indicate my dog has dental disease?
- Bad breath
- Reddened, inflamed gums
- Discoloured teeth
- Tooth loss
- Difficulty eating
- Blood in the saliva
- Weight loss
- Swelling below one eye
Give your Dog a Bone
Raw, meaty bones provide excellent chewing action to clean teeth and gums. Raw chicken wings and necks are good for cats and small dogs, but are not large enough to clean the teeth of bigger breeds. Sheep femurs are currently being advised by some specialist veterinary dentists, although brisket and other softer bones are also used. Your dog needs to chew on bones at least twice weekly for dental health, and daily is even better. Avoid cooked bones as they are more brittle and tend to splinter, which can then puncture the gut.
Offer your puppy small bones, too. Even though all animals have baby teeth that they will lose as they grow, it is important to encourage bone-chewing behaviour from an early age.