Does your dog enjoy visiting the people in white coats who poke and prod around them? If you’re completely honest in your answer, you’ve more than likely had your fair share of wrestling matches to get them into the car and have also probably cleaned up a few accidents along the way. But, despite how uncomfortable it may be for your dog, making use of veterinary services for their health is most important.
Here at Alpha Animal Hospital, we provide many different services to help treat your pets and give them a healthier, happier life. One of the many veterinary services we provide is dental care, so continue reading to find out more about canine oral health.
The Impact Of Poor Oral Hygiene On Your Dog’s Health
Proper oral hygiene is of the utmost importance for our dogs. Some research suggests that without proper oral hygiene, bacterial toxins in the mouth are absorbed into the bloodstream, creating clusters of bacterial colonies filtered by the brain, liver, and kidneys and affecting major organs such as the heart and lungs.
You may be surprised that your dog can get ill from a lack of oral hygiene – it’s not like dogs can brush their teeth, right? But, there are many illnesses your dog can suffer from, including the following:
- Blood Spread Infections – Infected blood, from a tooth abscess, for instance, can quickly travel through the bloodstream and infect vital organs such as the heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, brain, lungs and muscles. The build-up of bacteria in these organs makes it more difficult for blood to pass through them, potentially causing diseases such as bacterial endocarditis, pancreatitis, hepatitis, and may also lead to seizures and organ failure.
- Toxin ingestion – typically, dogs with oral disease will also have gastrointestinal issues, or gastritis, due to the ingestion of toxins developed from the bacteria in the saliva. Each time the dog swallows, the toxins are introduced into the stomach, potentially causing infection.
- Inhaled infection – besides ingestion, the bacteria associated with periodontitis can also be inhaled, travelling through the airways and the lungs. Dogs with already compromised immune systems may find it difficult to recover from infection.
Prevent Rather Than Treat
You may be in complete anxiety mode right now, realizing that you haven’t been active in your dog’s oral health, but we are to help. You can be proactive by following these steps to help prevent the development of oral diseases in your dog.
- Feed your dog a proper diet – dogs should be given a healthy, well-balanced, meat-based diet. The meat in dog food is responsible for providing a healthy environment in the dog’s mouth. Also, give your dog healthy chews to help eliminate plaque or tartar build-up and encourage better breath.
- Provide chew toys – chew toys or even rawhide chews provide excellent daily exercise for your dog’s teeth and jaw. Consider hard rubber or nylon toys and encourage mouth play, such as tug-of-war, to strengthen the muscles in the mouth.
- Brush your dog’s teeth – we know not every dog will sit diligently while you spread and massage a weird minty substance across their chompers, but it is worth a try. For it to be most effective, you need to brush their teeth every day. And, with consistency, even the most unwilling dogs will get used to the feeling and routine, so stick to it.
- Visit your vet – regular visits and checkups will help identify, treat and prevent infections and disease, giving your dog a healthier mouth and improved overall health.
It may seem strange to you that your dog’s health can be so significantly impacted by poor oral hygiene since you don’t typically see many dogs having their teeth brushed. But, canine oral hygiene is just as important as oral hygiene is for us.
We, of course, understand that every owner approaches the care of their pets in different ways, so be sure to visit us for help and guidance with our extensive veterinary services available in Abbotsford, British Columbia.