Dental Care for the Fur Members of the Family

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November 12, 2013 by deanna

This summer we welcomed a new furry addition to our household, a black lab named Bella! As a dental hygienist, I’m well versed in caring for human mouths, but I wanted to do a little research before assuming I knew what it took to take care of our little pup’s pearly whites. I turned to the Animal Planet website where I found “5 Puppy Dental Health Care Tips” to share – here are the basics:

1. Get your puppy comfortable with having hands in their mouth by resting your hands on their muzzle during “cuddle times” and rubbing lips/teeth/gums.

2. Be aware of what is going on in the mouth. Deciduous teeth will start to exfoliate and make way for the permanent teeth starting at around 12 weeks. By 7-12 months a full compliment of 42 chompers should be present. Talk to your veterinarian about any concerns.

3. Provide things to chew on! Both to protect your puppy’s mouth and teeth . . .  and to protect your property and belongings. Toys of varying textures and even a frozen rolled up cloth or towel can provide relief from the discomfort of teething.

4. Kibble is part of a dental-friendly diet. The crunch texture helps to scrape food and bacteria from the teeth, helping to minimize plaque development.

5. Establish a nightly brushing routine, using canine-specific toothpaste and a brush you are comfortable with. Choose a quiet time when your pup is relaxed and start by brushing a few teeth at a time until your furry friend is comfortable with the process.

These are some great basics! And, they sound pretty familiar as well – when thinking about babies, we want them to be comfortable one step at a time with oral care, we want to be aware of changes in their mouths, we want to provide some relief from teething discomfort, and, in time, we want to start to introduce dental friendly foods and snacks. My hope is that we all take an interest and some pride in caring for our teeth and for those of our little dependents!