Are your senior dog’s pearly whites no longer as pearly? Does he or she have bad breath that is worsening over time? Dental disease may be the culprit. This common issue is an important one to consider in all pups especially as they age.
If your dog has not had recent dental care, it is likely that there is tartar buildup on your pup’s teeth. Just like in humans, tartar accumulation can cause gum irritation, tooth decay, and bad breath. Over time there is also an increased risk of heart disease with persistent tooth decay.
If your dog has significant decay or tartar, a veterinary evaluation is needed. A good dental evaluation needs to be done under anesthesia so that proper cleaning, and tooth removal if needed, can be done. A good pre-operative workup can identify whether anesthesia can safely be given. In many cases, dogs can be safely put under anesthesia and a quick recovery can be expected.
If your pup has minimal decay, or if he or she has had recent dental evaluation and was given the “all clear”, there are plenty of ways to promote dental health at home. Brushing your dog’s teeth is the best way to prevent and manage plaque buildup. There are also a variety of treats that contain an anti-tartar ingredient. Some treats help manually clear plaque through the dog’s own chewing action; one common example is Greenies.
Click below for a good summary article from the American Veterinary Dental College about oral health for dogs.