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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Why Dog Dental Health Is Key To Overall Health

By Anton Hout, author of The Guide to Aussie Training & Care

We have seen automobile safety improve dramatically over the past few decades. We now take vehicles with anti-lock braking systems, crumple zones and airbags for granted. Each of these safety elements works together to prevent serious injuries.

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Prevention measures will often work best when many elements come together to create a comprehensive approach that meets the objective. That's kind of how a dental health plan for your dog works. Many elements that individually are good, but together will provide the best chance for keeping your dog healthy.

Dental care for your dog will prevent pain and suffering and keep them healthy

In terms of maintaining our Aussie's health we all try to make sure they get the best nutrition from the best dog foods we can afford. We get them the exercise they need and take them to the vet for checkups. But too often dog dental health is given short shrift. That would be an unfortunate and very big mistake to make indeed.

The sooner you tackle the issue of dog dental health and make it part of your dog's overall health plan the better. Let's get started.

• Dog dental health and why it is important
• Practical application of canine dental health
• Create a dog dental health plan you can stick to

Australian Shepherd having his teeth brushed.

cynoclub / Dollar Photo Club

The earlier you start and the more consistenly applied the easier it will be for your Aussie to get used to a dog dental health regimen.

A lot more hinges on your dog's dental health than you may realize

A little prevention and investment in canine dental health will pay dividends down the road when you aren't facing expensive vet bills for health problems that can can arise when your dog's dental health is neglected.

As with humans plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and damage to organs including the heart, lungs, brain, kidney and liver. If you stay on top of the situation you can make sure these things never become a problem.

And what about baby teeth that don't all come out before the adult teeth come in, and teeth that get damaged or worn down? With a proper dental regimen you or your vet will notice these things. Many of these conditions are painful and your dog can't just tell you they are suffering. They are relying on you.

Because of advances in veterinary medicine and greater attention being paid to dog nutrition dogs are living longer—so their teeth have to last longer too.

As an added bonus, if your Aussie has bad breath a dog dental health plan and treatment will help with that too! There is very little downside and a huge upside to taking care of your dog's teeth, but what are the best ways to accomplish this?

Dog health care isn't as difficult as you may imagine

There are a few practical things you can do as part of your approach to dog dental health overall. First; start early. Get your puppy used to you checking their teeth and gums. This becomes easy and natural with frequency.

Of course, this applies to brushing too. Once your dog is used to having their mouth checked and manipulated it will make it much easier for your vet to give them a check-up and any necessary treatment.

There are several things you can do to help maintain your dog's dental health. The foundation of this is daily brushing. You can start with moistened gauze and then add a little toothpaste for dogs. You can progress to using a toothbrush or finger brush. But always use brushes and toothpaste that is made for dogs.

Toothpaste for humans will not be tolerated well by dogs. First of all mint flavour will not be appreciated by your dog. They will much prefer the meat flavoured kind for dogs. Toothpaste for humans also have foaming agents and fluoride that your dog shouldn't really be swallowing anyway.

In addition to brushing there are many dental chew toys on the market that will add another level to your dog dental health program.

Your dog's favourite will probably be treats they can chew on to help remove plaque and tartar build up. This can include anything from bully sticks, pigs ears and bones to specialized dog chew treats like Dentastix or Greenies.

If warranted by your vet there are also actually dry dog foods you can get that are designed to help clean teeth.

So there are many options available to you and they should be used in conjunction as part of an overall dental health plan for your dog. But no plan will work if it isn't implemented and then followed.

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Build dog dental health care into your lifestyle so it doesn't get neglected

Find the best time of day for your routine that makes it easy for you to stay consistent. Maybe it's right after their play and exercise time and they are more tired and relaxed. Perhaps after dinner works better for you. In order for it to work in the long term it has to be a good time for both you and your dog.

It's easy to let a day, a week, a month lag until it's been neglected and your dog is paying the consequences—and you are paying the vet.

Once you have a routine going it will be easy. You will know which chew toys and chew treats your dog likes best and you will always have them on hand. A consistent approach like this with regular check-ups with your vet will give your dog the best chance at dog dental health, better overall health and a longer, happier life.

While some may object that they don't have the time or are uncomfortable brushing their dog's teeth, I'd say it's just too important to not make the time or gradually get used to the brushing routine. The more often you do it the easier it will get and faster you will get. Once you overcome your initial resistance and clumsiness you'll find it really only takes a few minutes and is a great way for you and your dog to bond.

You really don't want to neglect your dog's dental care

It would be a false economy to think that all of the dog tooth brushes, toothpaste, chew toys, chew treats and check-ups are too expensive and you should skip them. Yes, there is some expense involved but it's not only a question of quality of life and health for your dog, it's also about the very real potential for serious health disasters down the road that can be very, very expensive in comparison. As the saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

So we've covered why it's important to develop a dog dental health plan; suggested specific elements that should be included; and discussed the need for implementing and sticking with it.

No matter if you are just getting a puppy, have an older dog and haven't addressed their dental health yet or if its been something you have been diligent about all along I hope this article has given you some ideas about what you need to do or to encourage you to continue taking care of your dog's oral health needs.

When driving our cars we need to get in the habit of always using our seatbelts and employing defensive driving tactics. So too, by keeping diligent about our dog's dental health routine we give our Aussies the best chance at avoiding unnecessary dental catastrophes.

If you need to get any of the dental chew toys or dog chew treats mentioned you can easily get them at your local pet store or online including and . icon

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