BRUSH UP ON CANINE CARE: NOT BRUSHING YOUR DOG’S TEETH CAN COST YOU MONEY
Brushing your dog’s teeth. No, it’s not just another pampered pooch craze that makes for some amusing YouTube watching. Keeping Fido’s teeth clean is an important part of canine health — and it can prevent costly surgical procedures that can take a bite out of your budget.
The Importance Of Proper Canine Oral Hygiene
By the time they’re three years old, an estimated 85% of all pets develop gum disease (periodontitis). The fallout from the disease? Bleeding gums, bad breath, weight loss, severe mouth pain, broken teeth, or early tooth loss.
Poor dental can also lead to far more serious and costly conditions such as damage to vital organs, including the heart, liver, and kidneys. Surgery for tooth extractions or emergency procedures to treat organs and save the life of your pet are not inexpensive: Trupanion estimates that an emergency surgery to treat acute liver failure can cost around $5,500.
Healthy Teeth and Gum Practices That Will Sit Well With Your Pet
1. Brush your dog’s teeth.
Dog toothbrushes are available in most stores with a pet aisle but a child’s toothbrush will do just fine, too. Use a dog-specific toothpaste; human toothpaste contains ingredients that dogs shouldn’t swallow. Even brushing your dog’s teeth without toothpaste is helpful, as the act of scrubbing alone removes particles from gums.
2. Schedule regular dental cleanings at the vet.
Cleaning procedures remove plaque and tartar buildup from your pet’s teeth and gums. Cleanings typically cost between $300 and $500, and the procedure requires anesthesia. But all told, the costs and risks are much less than if your pet needs an emergency procedure that could become an absolute necessity if dental health issues aren’t addressed early on.
3. Purchase dog toys that promote healthy teeth and gums.
In-between brushings and vet visits, let your dog chomp away at toys that promote good oral health: Elk or deer antlers, Nylabones, fresh produce like baby carrots, and dental chews can contribute to better teeth and gums. You can also ask your vet about drinking water additives or preventive medication that can help keep your dog’s oral hygiene on the right track.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So grab a six-ounce tube of doggy toothpaste, a toothbrush, and you’ll possibly save hundreds, maybe even thousands, when it comes to your dog’s health. Now that’s something to smile about.