It's Dog Dental Month !
When I was invited onto BBC Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’ programme recently to discuss Dog Dental Month. Presenter, Winifred Robison, spoke to Dr Karolina Enlund, who led a Swedish study into dog dental health, sent out to over 200,000 dog owners.
The research found that the vast majority of pet owners do not brush their dog's teeth at all, and Dog Dental Month is about providing easy and cost-effective methods to clean your dog's teeth at home.
I chatted about the Swedish study’s findings and highlighted some very simple, but effective ways of keeping your dog’s teeth clean. Not least that with the right approach there’s no excuse not to train a puppy to enjoy have their teeth brushed!
However, opting to feed your dog on a species appropriate diet packed with a balanced combination of raw meat, like Paleoridge thinking about the benefits of good bacteria to keep your dog’s mouth healthy. Also introducing supplements through their life stages like Collar-gen, Probiotic mouth spray from Ingenious can help keep teeth and gums healthy and strong.
Dr Karolina said: "There were no widespread surveys about dental home care in dogs, and how common it is for dog owners to brush their dog's teeth, which is the gold standard in veterinary dental care.
"We saw that less than 4% of dog owners brush their dog's teeth daily, and daily is the recommendation because plaque on the teeth builds up immediately after brushing. She added: "Dog owners are aware that dental disease is really common, especially in small breeds, lots of dog owners want to brush but there are lots of problems because their dogs are not cooperative."
I aired a special edition of my podcast on Dog Dental Month, with leading Vet Dr Nick Thompson and shone a light on the inexpensive things we can all do better to care for our pets. (Have a listen, tune in here )
I maintain anyone can train their dog to enjoy having their teeth brushed especially if you’ve been lucky to bring a puppy into your life – no excuses! But it takes time, patience, and turning it into a fun game in incremental stages.
Shockingly, 80% of dogs at only two years of age show some signs of dental disease. Many factors can contribute to a dog’s oral health including, diet, cleaning, and appropriate chews.
Some breeds are more prone like Toy breeds and Flat Faced breeds. My own dogs Prudence and Mr Binks, have completely different teeth. Prudence, a Mini Bull Terrier has a huge smile and her teeth have never required any brushing, her diet is clearly doing the job!
Mr Binks on the other hand has a degenerative bone condition called Legg Calves Perthes disease and his teeth have been a struggle to keep healthy, but unquestionably daily brushing, a species appropriate raw diet, key supplements along with lots of tripe sticks chews have helped keep necessary dentals to only two in nine years.
But Mr Binks had already had two dentals by the age of two before I re-homed him!
As the No:1 cause of trips to the vets, working preventatively is not only prudent, might not be as difficult as you think, and will save costly vet bills that are often not covered by insurance.
Combining an awareness that the mouth is the gateway to the stomach. If the mouth is full of disease it will impact on the gut’s health and vice versa. When you consider that 90% of your dog’s immune system is in the gut’s microbiome, it’s clear that the health of your dog’s mouth will affect his overall health and efficacity of the immune system.
For the month of March, doggy dental health will be at the forefront of the agenda, in a drive to inform pet owners that simple and affordable changes to their pet’s routine could save thousands of pounds in vets bills.
My top FIVE tips to help you avoid expensive dentistry vet bills:
- Feed a natural ‘species appropriate’ unprocessed diet that is rich in natural good bacteria and digestive enzymes, add ’Probiotic Therapy’
- Feed plenty of raw bones and natural chews to help remove any plaque. Chewing also provides enrichment, helps relax a dog and releases happy hormones
- Be aware of the effects of a sterile kibble-based diet with minute biscuit particles getting trapped between the teeth and the gums, causing inflammation.
- Supplement your dog through its life stages especially with Collar-gen, Glucosamine and Chondroitin to help keep, joints, bones, muscles and teeth strong and gums healthy
- Take the time to train your dog to like having their teeth brushed! It'safun game