Teeth and Gums

Puppies get their baby teeth at around 3-4 weeks, and permanent teeth from about 16 weeks. Those permanent teeth can be painful as they break through, and the best way to relieve the pain is to get your puppy chewing - preferably on safe and stimulating teething toys, and not your valued possessions. Ask your vet about which toys are most suitable for your dog.

Chewing plays an important part of the development of jaw muscles as well as teeth and gums, and also helps develop jaw muscles, teeth and gums. Try stuffing some toys with treats to make them more interesting, and even pop some in the freezer to help sooth sore gums.

Check the health of your dog's mouth once a week by lifting the lips and examine the gums and teeth. Gums should be pink, not red or white, and with no signs of swelling. Teeth should be clean, without any brownish tartar. Massaging your puppy’s gums with a fingertip toothbrush can relieve teething pain, and as your dog gets older, a regular brush can help prevent gingivitis, receding gums and tooth loss.

Your vet can advise on toothbrushes and toothpaste - never use human toothpaste on your dog. start by putting a little toothpaste on your dog's lips to get them used to the taste, then use the brush to gently clean the teeth and massage the gums.

A survey has shown that 80% of dogs over the age of three have some form of dental disease, which can not only be painful, but can contribute to more severe systemic diseases such as renal and heart disease.

Regular brushing can help your dog stay one of the healthy 20%, but If your dog shows signs of bad breath, loose teeth, excessive drooling, inflamed gums or cysts, you should visit your vet for a check up.

Your vet can also help if you find it difficult to brush your dog's teeth yourself, as well as provide treatments like ultrasonic scaling, and of course teeth extractions if necessary.

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