Good oral health is as important for dogs as it is for humans. Dogs use their teeth not only to eat but also to defend themselves. But poor oral hygiene can lead your dog to face dental problems. Oral problems are not only uncomfortable and painful but also make your dog prone to life-threatening situations (in some cases). The key is to identify the symptoms at an early stage and protect your dog from problems. So, let us discuss the signs that suggest oral health issues your dog may face.
Does your dog often lick you?
Who does not love to cuddle after coming home from a long day out? It is just your dogs' way of showing their affection towards their owners. But does your dog often lick you? Is it a sign of some dental issue or just a display of their affection? Licking isn't a serious problem for most healthy dogs, but if you are confused about your dog's health, you should look for a solution. Most importantly, you should never let your dogs lick your mouth or an open wound, as it may cause you to face health problems.
Will The Bacteria In The Dog's Mouth Affect Your Health?
The saliva in your dog’s mouth has bacteria in it, and if you allow your dog to lick your mouth or an open wound, the bacteria can transmit into your body. The saliva from your dog’s mouth will keep your wound moist, preventing it from healing, and may also cause skin infections. Similarly, if you have a weak immune system, the bacteria from your dog's mouth can make you sick.
What Bacteria Do They Have In Their Mouths?
You have heard, "A dog's mouth is cleaner than a man's." However, that is not true -in fact, there are hundreds of unique bacterial species in the saliva of dogs. These dogs have over 600 different types of bacteria in their mouth compared to the 615 bacteria in the human mouth, according to Harvard researchers.
Some dogs have a habit of exploring and inspecting everything they find. The toxic, contaminated, and dirty materials like garbage, impure water, and other toxins in the trash cans all mix into your dog's mouth and make its saliva deadlier for you. Additionally, germs like Capnocytophaga in pets like cats and dogs cause opportunist infection (which thrives in certain conditions).
How To Avoid Being Infected By Dogs' Bacteria?
The easiest way to avoid infections from your dog's bacteria is to stop them from kissing you. We do not mean keeping them away from you completely, but it is best to try and avoid hugging or cuddling with them, especially after they come from outside. Body openings like the nose, mouth, and body wounds are some of the most common places from where the bacteria can enter your body.
Some people believe that a dog's saliva heals wounds; it will do the opposite as it causes infections and can make people sick. So, the easiest way to protect yourself is to stop your four-legged member from licking your face. Dogs do this in most cases when they want owners' attention and may become aggressive if you do not respond to them. But you can find a solution to this problem and try different behavioral management skills.
Besides, you need to wash your hands every time you pet your dog. If your dog coughs a lot, it may be under the weather or experiencing some other issue. So, it is better to take your dog to a vet rather than using home remedies.
What oral problems do dogs usually have?
Let's take a brief look at the common oral health problems that dogs have.
Plaque is a thin layer of bacteria that forms on the teeth and around the gums. You can easily remove this from your dog's teeth with a mechanic brushing force. Otherwise, it can lead to dental calculus called tartar which attaches to the teeth firmly.
The tartar can dig below the gums, making them red and irritated, which causes a condition called gingivitis. If not treated, it can also lead to various degrees of gum infections.
The soft bony tissues under your dog’s teeth may die trying to protect it from bacterial infections; this condition is called periodontitis. Following are some of the most common signs that your dog may experience if they develop periodontitis.
- Bad breath
- Difficulty eating
- Discharge from the nose
- Pawing at the teeth or mouth
- Swelling under the eyes
- Weight loss or loss of appetite
- Tooth discoloration or visible tartar
- Red, swollen or bleeding gums
- Loose or missing teeth
How to care for the oral health of dogs?
Maintaining good oral dog health is the easiest way to avoid all dental problems. You can keep your dog's mouth healthy in some of the following ways.
Schedule Regular Cleaning
Adding regular checkups and cleanings with your veterinary doctors is the easiest way to ensure your dog's oral health. Sources reveal that over 80% of dogs above the age of 3 have active dental problems. Ensuring that your dog's mouth is clean will help you reduce several problems, including tartar and gingivitis.
Focus on Feeding them Right
Not many people know this, but dry food is good for your dog's health because it scrapes the tartar away as they chew. It also helps them maintain better oral health. Softer food, on the other hand, can stick to the teeth and gums, thus causing easy plaque buildup.
Give them Chew Toys
Several chew toys for dogs in the market can help your dog maintain healthy teeth. These toys are also best for aggressive dogs to distract them from chewing forbidden items and work out anxiety or boredom. For example, non-abrasive balls are a great chew toy option for anyone who wants to keep their dog’s mouth healthy.
Taking care of your dog's oral health at home is just as important as taking them to the vet to keep the harmful bacteria away. Problems like periodontitis can develop within 24-36 hours, so daily brushing is the safest way out of it.
Noticing your dog's oral health will help you find the right solution on time and avoid many dental issues. Addressing these problems at an early stage will improve your dog's dental health, protect them from oral diseases, and keep them fit and healthy.