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It's National Pet Dental Health Month!

National Pet Dental Health Month


Fresh breath and clean teeth help to make our pets pleasant companions. But did you know that providing your dog with regular dental care can also help him live a longer, healthier life? It's true. Keeping your dog's teeth clean – including professional cleanings as your pet gets older – will reduce his chances of suffering from numerous diseases. Keeping those pearly whites, well, white will keep him feeling great, too!

Dental Health & Your Dog’s Well-Being
A dog's dental health is a good sign of his overall well-being. A mouth with excessive amounts of plaque and tartar is filled with bacteria, so just by swallowing, your pup is transporting those dangerous germs throughout his bloodstream. Many owners are surprised to learn that poor dental hygiene can lead to a number of life-threatening illnesses – such as heart, kidney, and liver disease. Broken, infected, or loose teeth can also be extremely painful.

According to the American Veterinary Dental College, periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition from which pets are suffering. By the age of three, most dogs show signs of this problem. It begins with gingivitis, which includes reddening and swelling of the gums. Left untreated, periodontitis will likely develop. This more serious issue includes loss of bone and soft tissue around the teeth. The good news is that both problems are highly preventable.

Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

The best time to start brushing is while your dog is still a puppy. Pups that are brought up with regular brushing usually tolerate it very well. But even if you have never brushed your pet's teeth, it's not too late. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a checkup. A quick exam will determine whether a professional cleaning is necessary.

A professional cleaning – sometimes called a descaling – is not a substitute for proper dental care. Following the procedure, you will need to wait a short amount of time before you can begin brushing your dog’s teeth. Your pup’s mouth may feel a little sore following the cleaning, and especially so if the vet has to extract any teeth. Even if this is the situation, though, he will feel much better than he did with the diseased teeth. Check with your vet to see when you should resume at-home brushing – and be sure to do it as soon as you can. All the plaque and tartar will just return if you don’t.

Ideally, you should brush your dog's teeth daily. But even two or three times a week is much better than skipping the task completely. If your dog is fearful or uncomfortable with having the brush in his mouth, start by simply allowing him to lick a small dab of Nylabone Advanced Oral Care® Tartar Control ToothpasteTM from your finger. Specially formulated for dogs, Advanced Oral Care® toothpaste is flavored to appeal to your pet, so sampling a dab may increase his willingness to participate in brushing. (Never use human toothpaste on your pet; unlike the canine variety, it is dangerous for dogs.)

For especially fearful pets, you can use Nylabone Advanced Oral Care® Dental Wipes for DogsTM, or a Nylabone Advanced Oral Care® Finger BrushTM, both of which are designed for pets who are hesitant to accept a toothbrush. As your dog gets used to the brushing process with the wipes or finger brush, he may become open to the idea of a conventional brush. What matters most, though, is that you are cleaning his teeth.
If your dog is ready for the brush, choose a specially designed brush for dogs – Nylabone’s Advanced Oral Care® line includes toothbrushes for puppies, adult dogs, and seniors, all of which benefit from a brush designed around their special needs. Place a small amount of toothpaste on the bristles and begin brushing one tooth at a time. Work in an oval motion, paying special attention to the area where the teeth meet the gums. This is where the largest amounts of plaque and tartar accumulate. When you have finished, you do not need to rinse your dog's mouth, but he may appreciate a bowl of fresh, cold water nonetheless. Finally, don’t forget to praise your pet for his compliance. A heartfelt “Good boy!” can go a long way to making him view brushing as a worthwhile task.

Food, Treats, and Dental Health
Certain foods will cause your dog to accumulate plaque and tartar more quickly. Canned food, for example, is notorious for building up on teeth and gums especially fast. Feeding your pet crunchy kibble and healthy snacks like raw carrots is much better for his teeth than feeding him wet food exclusively. But it is important to know that even dry food can lead to dental problems without regular dental care.

You can also help keep your dog's teeth clean between brushings by offering him chew treats like Nylabone Nutri Dent®. A natural, gluten-free chew with vitamins and minerals, Nutri Dent® is completely edible, with no preservatives and no added salt or sugar. With a special 360-degree design, Nutri Dent® helps remove the plaque and tartar that harbor bacteria while your dog enjoys a delicious chew treat. And your pup will love the yummy flavors like Chicken, Filet Mignon, Bacon (for Puppies), and Grain Free Peanut Butter!

An Essential Part of Caring for Your Dog
Just like feeding and grooming, providing your dog with regular dental care is an essential part of caring for your pet. Although it may seem like a dreaded task at first, you just might find it easy to make brushing – and regular Nutri Dent® treats – part of your routine. And having a happy, healthy dog is definitely worth the small amount of time it requires!

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