If you need help with your teeth, the range of available dental assistance is quite impressive. Badly decayed teeth? No problem—a dental crown can fix that. Misaligned teeth? Braces or invisible retainers will solve the problem. Missing teeth? A dental implant or partial dentures will restore your smile. But what about your dog? When your poor pooch has bad teeth, the range of solutions are not quite so expansive. This doesn't mean that your dog has to suffer through dental drama when their chompers start to fail, though.
Checking Your Dog's Teeth
You might not necessarily easily spot gum disease and the subsequent degradation of teeth in your dog. One of the key signs is a hesitancy to eat, since this causes discomfort and even pain. You can perform a basic examination yourself by gently grasping your dog's muzzle and delicately parting their lips to expose their teeth. Be very careful not to touch your dog's gums, as this can be extremely uncomfortable when their dental health is problematic. Look for telltale signs of decay, which is comparable to humans. You're looking for inflamed gums and obvious dark spots in their teeth. Once you're fairly certain that your dog's teeth need attention, what's your next step?
Working With Your Vet
It's smart to schedule an appointment with your vet so that any preventative measures can be taken. Teeth that have significantly decayed might need to be removed, and dental scaling can be performed on other teeth if it's thought that plaque removal will prolong the life of the tooth. Further care will need to be taken at home.
Avoiding Damaging Toys
You'll need to be careful about just what goes into your dog's mouth, both in terms of toys and food. Any hard rubber or plastic toys will need to be discarded and replaced with softer options. You will also need to make sure that your dog doesn't chew on any sticks. Your dog might well abstain from this by themselves, but they can easily resume the habit when their teeth start to feel better. However, just because they're feeling better doesn't mean that their teeth are not at risk of further degradation.
Adjusting Your Dog's Diet
Your dog's diet will need to be adjusted. Avoid hard pet food and opt for a nutritionally balanced soft food instead. Your vet can advise you on suitable pet food options based on your dog's age and breed. You can also alternate between feeding your dog a pre-made product and making their food yourself, using raw mince (kangaroo meat is a great choice), along with boiled or blanched vegetables, as well as cooked rice or pasta.
Dentures or implants might not be an option for your dog, but this doesn't mean that they need to live with doggy dental drama.