How to Care for Your Puppy’s Teeth

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Want to know how you can show your puppy you love and care for them? Focus on their dental health! February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and we at Petland want to express the importance of keeping up with your pup’s dental and oral hygiene. Many puppy parents often forget or ignore to take […]

Want to know how you can show your puppy you love and care for them? Focus on their dental health! February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and we at Petland want to express the importance of keeping up with your pup’s dental and oral hygiene.

Many puppy parents often forget or ignore to take care of their furry friend’s teeth, leading to oral diseases and other painful conditions that can harm their bodies. Your puppy needs their teeth to be fresh and clean so that they can be healthy and happy! 

If you aren’t sure where to start with proper oral care, read on to learn more about what you can do to take care of your fur-baby’s teeth. 

What does healthy puppy teeth look like?

A healthy dog mouth is one of the first signs of excellent health and hygiene. With clean, pearly whites, your puppy will be able to eat, play, and be themselves without feeling pain or discomfort. Before you can check and care for your puppy’s teeth, however, it’s important to understand what counts as a healthy mouth for dogs first.

Healthy dog teeth should always be free of plaque and tartar. Your puppy’s mouth should not have bad breath and if they do, it may be a sign of periodontal disease. 

Depending on their age, your puppy may have a set of 28 temporary teeth (also called puppy teeth or milk teeth), which will eventually fall out and be replaced by 42 adult teeth. Always check that your puppy’s teeth aren’t jagged or broken. Their tongue should also be moist and smooth—no cuts or lumps in sight. Gums, as noted by PetHelpful, are trickier to note as some breeds have natural dark-colored gums. Be sure to ask your vet about your furry friend’s gums and any unusual spots or lumps you find in their mouths.

Even if your puppy still has their milk teeth, it’s crucial to get them on a dental care routine as early as possible. It can help make dental care easier when your puppy becomes an adult, and you’ll know what their mouth looks like.

How do you keep your puppy’s mouth clean?

Unfortunately, our puppies aren’t able to clean and care for their teeth the way most humans do. That’s why it’s up to us to keep up a consistent dental care routine that prevents their teeth from rotting away or catching an oral disease. Here are a few tips you can use to keep your canine’s mouth fresh and clean:

Brush your puppy’s teeth. The earlier you start, the easier it will be for the both of you in the long run. If you and your pup are new to toothbrushing, avoid rushing into it and follow the next steps carefully:

  1. Take it one step at a time by getting your puppy used to having their mouth touched. The American Kennel Club recommends touching their muzzle and rubbing your finger along their teeth and gums. Make sure they’re calm and relaxed the entire time.
  2. Introduce your pup to the toothbrush. You can use a human or dog toothbrush. Dog toothbrushes are more angled so it’s easier to reach certain areas of the mouth. Choose whichever you like. Let your pup smell it and rub it on their teeth. 
  3. Once your puppy can handle it, it’s time for the actual tooth brushing process. Lift up your puppy’s lips and brush their front teeth gently. Move to the back of their mouth slowly, brushing in small circles and getting the top and bottom teeth. 

Always choose canine toothpaste over a human one. These toothpastes are safe for puppies to swallow, and contain healthy, yummy ingredients that will have them licking their lips. You can find canine toothpaste at your vet’s office or at Petland.

Use dog tooth wipes. If you don’t have time for full tooth brushing, dog tooth wipes are a great go-to solution. Dog tooth wipes help clean leftover food, plaque and bacteria from your pooch’s teeth, leaving them nice and clean. Of course, tooth wipes cannot replace a regular toothbrush but they can provide a temporary cleaning. Stop by Petland to find out about our tooth wipes.

Give your puppy dental treats. Puppies love to eat treats of all kinds. Dental treats are a great way to maintain their dental health as they often remove plaque buildup and freshen their breath. These treats also come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors so you’ll be sure to find something your puppy loves.

Bring your pup for a professional cleaning. One of the best ways you can ensure your puppy’s oral health is to have them undergo a professional cleaning. Your vet will be able to address any concerns you may have about your puppy’s teeth and prevent potential issues from developing. Professional dental cleanings are much pricier than the other options on this list but it’s the best way to maintain your dog’s dental health.

What are some doggy dental or oral concerns?

There are several signs you should watch out for when you clean your puppy’s mouth. If you notice any of the following changes, be sure to contact your vet immediately:

Halitosis or bad breath. This is often caused by food getting stuck in your puppy’s teeth. It may also be a sign of kidney disease or an oral infection.

Broken or loose teeth. This can be a sign of periodontal disease, and makes it difficult for your puppy to eat or perform their regular activities.

Teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar. Tartar is usually the direct cause of gingivitis, periodontal disease, and other dental conditions.

Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth. This can mean your dog feels pain or discomfort when eating. It may also be a sign of damaged teeth or painful gums.

Reduced appetite or refusal to eat. A telltale sign that your puppy is experiencing a painful oral condition that needs to be checked immediately by your vet. 

Bleeding from the mouth. Bleeding is a symptom of gingivitis or severe periodontal disease. Your puppy may need extensive dental treatment. 

Swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth. Check your puppy’s mouth and gums for lumps and cysts. If you notice any swelling, consult your vet as soon as possible. Some lumps in your pup’s mouth may be tumors or cysts. Your vet may need to drain cysts and remove lumps to check if they’re malignant. 

Most dental diseases in dogs are preventable. As puppy parents, it’s essential to show our pups that we care by placing extra emphasis on their dental health. Even if they squirm, bite, or pout, your puppy deserves a regular dental care routine that keeps those teeth, gums, and tongue as clean as they can be!