The Importance of Looking After Your Dog's Teeth
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The Importance of Looking After Your Dog's Teeth

Dogs
Health & Safety

Dog owners often forget to take care of their four legged friends teeth until it is too late and problems start to happen which then leads to other health problems. Much like in humans, dental issues in dogs cause a lot of secondary health problems which as your dog gets older can really affect the quality of their lives.As dogs get older their teeth begin to show a lot more wear and decay which can cause them a lot of pain and discomfort. A worry many pet owners have is the dental work that needs to be done might require anaesthetic which when used on older dogs is thought to be dangerous. However, more often than not, these worries are unfounded and you should discuss everything with your local vet who will be more than happy to explain it all to you.Vets are very conscious of dog owners concerns when it comes to the use of anaesthetics in older dogs and usually advise owners that it is far better to get a dog's teeth seen to than not. Even if the dog is older, their dental care and comfort normally outweighs any worries about using anaesthetics. However, there could be certain situations when the use of an anaesthetic may not be advised by a vet. However, your vet will advise you of any alternatives that can be used to make your dog's life more comfortable.

Modern Anaesthetics Are Much Safer to Use

Modern anaesthetic techniques are much safer than they were in the past. But with this said, the use of anaesthetic on any animal holds a degree of risk, and the same can be said when used on humans who need to have surgery that requires they are unconscious at the time. It is exactly the same with animals.Older dogs tend to suffer from more ailments and illnesses which is a normal process of growing old. Some of these conditions mean a dog needs surgery and therefore anaesthetic. There are a large number of older dogs that are given anaesthetic these days because modern veterinary medicine has made it a lot safer than ever before.Because teeth wear out and get broken, older dogs tend to need more dental work than a younger dog. But before your dog has any dental work done, your vet might want to take a few blood tests first, this is to check on your dog's general health. If a tooth or the gums are very infected and uncomfortable for the dog, it can pose a risk because any infection that started in the gums or teeth may cause damage to other organs in the body because of bacteria that forms in the teeth. Your vet may put your dog on a course of antibiotics to get the infection under control before they start on the dental work.

What Are the Signs of Dental Problems?

Bad Breath

If your dog suffers from bad breath, the chances are there is a dental problem. It is not normal for a dog to have 'doggy breath' although many people think it is. By regularly giving your dog dental chews goes a long way in helping to keep your dog's teeth in better condition, but you may need to take your dog to see the vet. Your vet will take a close look at your dog's teeth and make sure there is nothing more seriously wrong that needs attention. Once the problem has been identified and dealt with, you may find your dog's breath improves dramatically.

Fussy Eating Habits

If your dog starts to be a fussy eater, which is not in their normal nature, again this could be an indication of a dental problem. If they hang their heads to the side and paw at their mouths, your dog has a problem with a tooth that needs treatment.Older dogs sometimes find it harder to eat but if they have a broken or worn down tooth and it is causing them a lot of pain, they might go off their food altogether. You might notice their gums are very inflamed and therefore painful even when they are not eating. You need to get them to your vet as soon as you can to prevent any further suffering and discomfort.Dental problems can shorten your dog's life because it adds extra stress on their body organs. It can also affect their immune system which means they find it harder to fight off any other illnesses or infections. Aside from these issues, if your dog has bad teeth and it is painful for them – then it does affect their quality of their lives.

Seek Advice From Your Vet

If you are worried about your dog's teeth but also concerned about them having to be anaesthetised in order to get their teeth seen to, your vet should be able to advise you. They will give you peace of mind about any dental procedures they recommend. The first thing your vet may do is explain just how anaesthetic actually works.Anaesthetic puts your dog into an unconscious state, so the vet can safely work on their teeth. It allows the vet to carry out all the dental work as a pain-free procedure for the animal. These days, vets use injectable medication which usually consists of anaesthetic and pain control substances. Pure oxygen and gas is then used through a breathing tube as a way to maintain your dog in an unconscious state until the treatment is completed.After care is very important which means, vets usually keep your dog at the surgery until the come round from the anaesthetic and are back to their old selves. When the vet or veterinary nurse is happy with how a dog has come around, they normally let dog owners pick their furry friends up and take them home.

Is It Worth Getting Your Dog's Teeth Cleaned?

It is definitely worth getting your dog's teeth regularly cleaned because by taking them along to your vet to have it done, you are in effect making life a lot more comfortable for your four legged friend. You should think of it as preventive care for your dog and that you are helping prevent any stress on other organs in the body which stem from the bacteria formed in your dog's bad teeth. At the end of the day, you want to make life as comfortable for your best friend as possible. A dog with bad teeth is in pain and needs to get the problem seen to as soon as possible.

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