Dental Care for Your Dog

Most pet owners go out of their way to make sure their pets are as happy and healthy as can be. But some aspects of pet care that may seem less critical can actually becomevery serious when delayed or neglected. Ask any Austin vet care provider, and they will tell you that dental care falls into this category all too frequently. Sometimes, people do not fully understand until faced with a situation that has become serious just how much is at risk when regular dental care is not provided.

It’s fairly common to find dogs who have bad breath and whose teeth are covered with tartar due to lack of regular dental cleaning. Though most of us couldn’t imagine going without routine dental care, sometimes we just don’t realize the importance of providing the same level of dental care for our dogs. Though it may seem expensive when you ask your Austin vet care professional how much a routine dental costs, the long-term effects of skipping dental care may easily exceed the annual expense.

Your Austin vet care professional can offer instruction and guidance with regard to regular tooth brushing for your dog. Brushing doesn’t eradicate tartar completely, but it can delay the build-up, and breeds that are especially prone to bad teeth—Chihuahuas, Italian Greyhounds, and other small breeds especially—may maintain their dental cleanings for a longer period of time with weekly help from you and a good doggie toothbrush and toothpaste.

When choosing a toothbrush and toothpaste for your dog, ask your Austin vet care professional to recommend the correct style and brands, and also ask if he or she can demonstrate the best techniques. You don’t want to cause your dog discomfort in the process of brushing, but you do want to do as thorough a job as possible.

Though you might be tempted to lend your dog some of your own toothpaste for breath that’s minty fresh, it’s imperative that you do not do this under any circumstances. There are specific reasons why pets have their own special dental care products. For instance, human toothpaste contains fluoride, which can be highly toxic to dogs even in small amounts. Dog toothpastes are made specifically for dogs, so buying the correct brand is essential.

Baking soda may be a healthy alternative, but consult your Austin vet care professional for a recommendation before using any product in your dog’s mouth. If you surf the Internet for answers with regard to your dog’s dental care, you’ll likely find various and sundry tidbits of information, but unless you’re getting your information from a trusted source, be sure to take said information with a grain of salt and get an opinion from your Austin vet care provider for the accurate answer for your dog.

Canned food is also a contributor to the build-up of canine tartar. To use an analogy, imagine that you eat cereal, nothing but cereal, for every meal and never brush your teeth. You would probably have a substantial plaque build-up pretty quickly, as well as cavities and gum disease. A good, crunchy food and certain treats formulated for dogs can help dogs keep their teeth cleaner through dietary choices.

And if it’s been more than one year since your dog’s last dental, it’s time to schedule with your Austin Vet Care provider. Austin Animal Medical Center’s veterinary team provides dental services, health and wellness services, surgical services, and boarding for your beloved canine companion. Call 512.832.4119, email, or visit

Author: Victoria Garcia

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