Oral Care Checklist for Your Canine

Oral health care is important to keep your dog happy and healthy. These guidelines will help you to assess your dogs oral health. They will help you understand the role the vet plays in your dogs oral health care.

Veterinarians have become better educated in oral care for dogs. Some veterinarians perform the same procedures on dogs as a dentist performs on a human. Dogs can get root canals, braces, teeth whitening and dental implants as part of their oral care.

This is extensive oral care for dogs.

Dental care begins with at home basics and regular check ups.

At Home Dental Care Guide for Dogs

Oral care for dogs should begin at an early age and continue into adult hood and especially into the dog's senior years.

Examining and caring for your dog's mouth and teeth should be a regular part of his daily oral hygiene.

1. Examine the mouth: You don't have to do it daily, but take a peek into the dog's mouth while you play or cuddle. Make sure the gums are smooth and pink and that the teeth are free of food. Check for any yellowing or excess redness at the gum line.

2. Smell the dog's breath: The dog's breath should not have a foul odor. Any signs of bad breath may indicate gingivitis, or some other kind of infection.

3. Brush the dog's teeth and gums: People toothpaste foams and needs to be spit out. Be sure to use a dental paste designed for dogs. Instead of a toothbrush, purchase a baby's finger brush. These slide over a finger and allow you to reach into the dog's oral cavity with just your finger. He or she may shy away from an actual toothbrush.

4. Feed hard food: Be sure the dog gets an adequate amount of hard kibble to chew on. If he or she prefers soft food, offer dental bones or hard rubber chew toys. These will keep the teeth ground down and will help break up any tartar or plaque that is forming.

At the Vet Oral Care for Dogs

Discuss oral care for the dog with your veterinarian. Follow any guidelines the vet sets up and adhere to scheduled oral checkups. Make sure that the vet gives the dog a thorough oral exam on a regular basis. A quick peek during annual shots is not enough.

1. Basic Oral Exam: According to the American Animal Hospital Association, veterinarians should perform basic oral exams yearly. If any problems are found, the exam should be moved to every 6 months.

2. Thorough Oral Exam: If the vet encounters any problems, he may give the dog a sedative to perform a more thorough oral exam. The vet will use the same cleaning instruments that a dentists uses, if it is determined that a cleaning is necessary.

3. History and education of dog's oral health: The vet should discuss oral health with the dog's owner. A complete history should go into the dog's file. The vet should be aware and approve the schedule of at home oral care the dog is given.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. Always follow the guidelines set up by your veterinarian for your dog's oral care. Any suspect conditions should be monitored by your vet.