Dog Care – Teeth

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 36,498
    Dr. Candy Olson demonstrates how to care for your dog’s teeth.

    Candy Olson

    Dr. Candy Olson graduated from veterinary school in 1978, and has been working as a small animal veterinarian ever since. She started her own practice, Greenbriar Animal Hospital, in Fairfax, Virginia in 1993 with a goal to providing a very personal level of service, like an old fashioned family doctor’s office. The hospital has grown into a busy 2 doctor practice with a full time dog and cat groomer. The practice and Dr. Olson have received several awards for top quality service to her patients and their owners, but what she enjoys the most is fine tuning the day to day care of her patients, and helping their owners cope with medical and behavioral issues that pop up in today’s lifestyles. Dr. Olson is particularly interested in the care of geriatric pets and in pets with multiple medical and/or behavioral problems. She keeps her veterinary knowledge current by reading more than 8 veterinary journals every month, and by attending more than 80 hours of continuing education meetings each year (Virginia requires 15 hours per year). She also serves as a mentor for student veterinary technicians and high school students interested in veterinary medicine. Her hobbies include gardening, travel, and photography (photography is an extended family hobby). Some of her photos and some of her family’s photos are framed and on display at the animal hospital.

    Hi! I am Dr. Olson from Greenbriar Animal Hospital. We are shooting a video with clips on how to do various things to care for your dog at home. This is Butter. She is going to be helping us out with this section which is on how to take care of your dog's teeth at home. Well, there are a bunch of things that you can do. One of the real biggies is brushing your dog's teeth. It's really helpful and it's actually the very best thing that you can do. It's not terrifically practical for a lot of people and a lot of dogs and this is one thing that lot of dogs object to, but if you can, it really helps and we will go over some tips of how to do that. There are also other things that you can do and frankly the very best thing to do is to pick three or four of these different things and do all of them because that will really help. Dogs are like people. Eventually, they will have problems and get enough tartar and ginger, and they will need to have their teeth professionally cleaned. In effect, most dogs have to have that done quite a few times during their life, but you can keep their teeth and gums healthier and delay the period of time when they have to have the teeth cleaning by doing a lot of the stuff at home. Something to be aware for dogs is they have 42 teeth, lots more than people. This is a model of actual dogs teeth -- obviously, little bit bigger dog than Butter, but you can see a lot of these teeth -- even the little ones in the front had really long roots, up under the gum and this is not a fake one. This is actually model of a real dog and so these teeth are all large even the smaller or less important ones are big. If they have to be removed, if they are damaged, it can be pretty big deal and in fact it's always oral surgery. It's not like you just go in there and pull the tooth out. There is incisions and stitches and everything else in there. So, that's something we need to avoid, we like them to keep their teeth. Now, if you are brushing the dogs teeth you can get a special toothbrush. This is a toothbrush for dogs with set for the little dogs and bigger dogs over here. You can also use a regular child's soft toothbrush. It is important that the bristles be very soft. Dogs gums are really sensitive, a lot more sensitive than peoples and so what you want to actually do if you are starting out is you want to get him used to just the idea that you are doing something. This is an excellent tooth gel for dogs. It is really good for couple of reasons. First of all, there is no flavor to it. So, there is no flavor to object to as it's pretty much tasteless, but the other thing that's really nice about it is that it is also as well as being good for the teeth, it's good for the gums as well and so what you want to do is just put a little bit on your finger and just slip it in here and just kind of rub it in so she gets the idea. Oh, yeah, that's kind of weird and you can see she is like, ooh, what's that? That's a real typical reaction for a dog and you can just imagine if you start trying with the brush right away you are not going to get too far. You can also use something like this. This is a little disposable brush. It is soft but again it's hard to get it in there and get it used to it. If you are using one of these, what you want to do is put your little gel on the toothbrush and you are going to want to be going back and back here and kind of back and forth along there. What you wanted to do for the dog's front teeth, let me just show you in here, these front ones are tough. What you want to do for these is do it blind. You don't want to see how --she really doesn't like it if you pull her lips back. So, what you want to do with your brush is just do it like this. You are not trying to pull her lip back and the first time you are just doing your finger, you are not actually doing anything. You are just getting used to the idea of this is a little weird, got your finger there and then make a big deal out of it. You also want to do this everyday for maybe five or six days until she is like that's a little weird but okay, they're doing that thing and then start introducing the brush and some dogs are not that cooperative about it but you can make huge difference if you can brush the teeth. Now, there are other things that you can do. Some of those other things that we talked about earlier that there are three or four things that you can do. Some of those are to make sure that your dog has access to a lot of the dental chews. Any of those kind of treats that are good for the teeth and one of the things that helps the teeth is to sit and chew on something for 10-15-20 minutes at a time. So, if you give your dog a treat and it just eats it and it's gone that might have been a good treat but it didn't do anything for the teeth. It's the chewing action that really helps and you can experiment with that to see what your dog likes. Some dogs just dont like to chew very much and that's the problem because they are not helping you, you are going to have to do all the work yourself. This is another product that really helps you. Add it to their drinking water so every time they drink the mouth get based with the stuff which helps. It's not nearly as good as brushing or doing these other things but it's something that you can do without having to get in there and trying to do the stuff you know with their mouth. There also is a special dental food, a dry food, that's excellent in helping to keep the teeth and gums in the good heath, and so these are all things that you can do to help keep things healthy in there and also realize that dogs are not supposed to have bad breath. So, if you are doing this Jeez, she has really got nasty breath or teeth are getting brown or there is some red in the gums, those are not normal. It means there is a problem and it should be checked. So, if you see any of that, call your veterinarian and have them checked throughout to see what's going on, does she need to have her teeth cleaned or does she need to have medication for what's going on and if you have questions about taking care your dog's teeth at home, don't hesitate to call your vet. They will help you out. Now, we are going to go over how to trim your dog's nails next.