Thanks to their loving human caregivers, dogs can live for 15 years or more. Unfortunately, their teeth do not always hold up as long as the rest of their bodies. Many old dogs are plagued by loose and painful teeth and end up having to have many of their teeth removed. But this does not have to be your dog's fate. If you start with these daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly dental care practices when your dog is young, you'll increase their chances of keeping those chompers into old age.
Daily: Feed a Kibble Made for Dental Care
Look for a dental care food that you can give your dog. Your vet should be able to recommend one if you're unsure of which brand is best. These dog foods usually come in larger pieces so your dog has to chew them apart, and they contain abrasive ingredients to help scrub the teeth clean. You generally only feed a few pieces of the dental care food once a day along with the rest of your dog's diet.
Weekly: Brush Their Teeth
Brushing a dog's teeth can be a little tough at first, but if you take things slow and do a little at a time, your dog will soon adapt. You can buy an enzymatic toothpaste that you don't actually need to brush on, just rub on, and apply it to the teeth with your finger or a cotton cloth. While some people brush their dogs' teeth daily, and there's nothing wrong with this, you can get away with doing it just once a week as long as you're feeding a dental care food.
Monthly: Provide a Good Chew Toy
Dogs keep their teeth clean and strong by chewing. Once a month, give them a new chew toy. Within about a month, they will probably have it torn apart enough that it needs to be replaced.
Yearly: Schedule a Dental Cleaning and Exam
Once a year, take your dog to a vet who specializes in dental care. They will sedate your dog, remove all of the stubborn tartar from the teeth, and do an exam to make sure nothing is amiss. The earlier a dental problem is caught, the better. It's better to pull one tooth than to wait and let the decay spread to others.
Dogs, like people, require good dental care if you want to keep their teeth strong. For more information on how to care for their dental needs, contact a local pet dental care center.