By the time they are four years old, many dogs are showing signs of gum
disease due to lack of dental care. Follow these steps to prevent
gingivitis and keep your pooch's pearly whites sparkling clean.

 

Photo by Prashant_sh, flickr.Photo by Prashant_sh, flickr.

 

Step 1: Take a Look/ Sniff

One way to prevent gum disease is to keep a lookout for early signs. Take a look at your dog's gums. They should be pink, not red or white. Check for swelling. Also, keep a lookout for any brownish tartar on Fido's teeth.

 

Photo by Emma Jane Hogbin.Photo by Emma Jane Hogbin.

 

Your nose can also provide a clue. Dog breath is called dog breath for a reason, so you shouldn't expect your pooch's mouth to smell like a rose. Still, an especially offensive odor could be a sign of a big problem. If you suspect trouble, take your dog to the vet.

 

Step 2: Diet Right for Dental Health

To keep your dog's mouth healthy, avoid feeding your pooch table scraps. You might even consider buying a dog food especially formulated for dental heath, such as Hill's Science Diet Adult Oral Care Dry Dog Food.

 

Hill's Science Diet Adult Oral Care Dry Dog FoodHill's Science Diet Adult Oral Care Dry Dog Food

 

According to the Hillspet website, the fiber in this dog food is clinically proven to reduce plaque and tartar buildup, and the specially formulated kibble freshens breath. A four  pound bag of Hill's Science Diet Adult Oral Care Dry Dog Food is available though Amazon for around $9.

 

Step 3: Buy Some Chew Toys

Gnawing on a chew toy will strengthen your dog's teeth. It will also massage your pooch's gums and help scrape away tartar. Any nylon, rawhide, or rubber chew toy will do for this purpose. This Nylabone DuraChew Bone, for instance, could be a great option. 

 

Nylabone Dura Chew BoneNylabone Dura Chew Bone

 

According to the Nylabone website,the DuraChew Bone has bristles that get raised during chewing, cleaning teeth and controlling plaque and tartar buildup. The Nylabone DuraChew Bone is available from Amazon for under $10.

 

Step 4: Brush Your Dog's Teeth

You'd never go without brushing your teeth, so why should your dog? Nylabone makes a tooth-brushing kit for canines, which includes a doggie toothbrush and peanut butter-flavored doggie toothpaste. 

 

Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Natural Dog Dental KitNylabone Advanced Oral Care Natural Dog Dental Kit

 

The Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Natural Dog Dental Kit is available through Amazon for around $10.

Another option is to go the do-it-yourself route by using a gauze-wrapped finger as a toothbrush and making a paste of baking soda and water. Just avoid using human toothpaste on your dog, as it can upset Fido's stomach if swallowed. Aim to clean your dog's teeth two to three times a week.

 

Photo by Rennett Stowe, flickr.Photo by Rennett Stowe, flickr.

 

Follow these four steps to secure your dog's dental health and keep Fido smiling bright.

 

Sources: Amazon, ASPCA, Hillspet, Nylabone

 

 

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