By Nancy Cope
Caring for your dog’s health is a vital part of ensuring that your pet stays in good condition, and one of the most important areas of a dog’s health is his oral and teeth health.
Dogs love to chew, bite, eat, play, nip, and bark, and your dog uses his mouth and teeth for many other things. His mouth and teeth are also used for personal defense, grooming, and giving affection as dogs love to do.
There are a number of mouth and teeth problems in dogs, and it is important that you know what these problems are and how you can prevent or take care of them.
* Mouth infections are common among dogs, and these infections can be the result of foreign bodies in the mouth, a cut or burn in the mouth, or the beginning stages of gum diseases. Many dogs tend to injure themselves with sticks, as well as by chewing on substances that are very hard and scratch the inside of the dog’s mouth. These cuts may get infected, and using antibiotics to counter the spread of bacteria is important.
* Foreign bodies in the mouth is the technical name for small objects lodged in the dog’s mouth, such as splinters of sticks, bones, or stones. Dogs love to chew things, and often chew pretty much anything it can get in its mouth. However, hard items can actually damage your dog’s teeth, and his molars are at the highest risk of being cracked or chipped from chewing on these hard items. Infection and tooth-pulp exposure are two potential results of leaving foreign bodies in his mouth, so it is important to remove these objects.
* Foreign objects in the throat are not as common, but they can actually kill your dog. Some sticks or bone splinters can get lodged in the dog’s throat, and there is no way that you can reach far enough into his mouth to get them. With a stick lodged in the back of his throat, your dog may choke when you try to feed him. It is vital that you take your dog to the vet if you notice your dog vomiting or gagging, pawing at his mouth, or drooling more than normal.
* Periodontal diseases are common with nearly every dog around the world, and these diseases are usually caused by a lack of proper dental hygiene. Usually dogs suffering from a periodontal disease will have bad breath, as is common with halitosis. You can get rid of his halitosis by carefully brushing your dog’s teeth daily, as well as getting your dog dry food especially designed to help clean his teeth. Gingivitis is a common inflation of your dog’s gums, and you can take steps to prevent gingivitis by checking his gums daily for any red lines around the teeth.
* While tumors in your dog’s mouth are not common, they do develop and can be painful and potentially life-threatening. You can easily get surgery to remove the tumor, and subject your dog to chemotherapy or radiation therapy to help get rid of the tumor completely.
Nancy Cope is the owner of four rescue dogs and Pampered Dog Gifts.