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Top 10 Dog Dental Questions…and the Answers Part III!

February 19, 2015

8. What’s that really big tooth in the middle of my dog’s upper jaw?

The largest tooth in a dog’s mouth is the upper fourth premolar also known as the carnassial tooth. Its special shape and tooth surface is designed to help shear, crush and hold. This is why you see dogs grasp chew toys with the side of their mouth, chomping feverishly. This is also why you have to replace so many chew toys. Next time blame the carnassial teeth instead of your dog.

9. I heard that dogs could get mouth cancer. Is that true?

Unfortunately oral tumors are diagnosed in many dogs. In fact, it’s estimated that one in four dogs will die of some form of cancer. Malignant oral tumors in dogs can be very aggressive and quickly spread throughout the body if untreated. If you observe any swelling, lumps, or dark and unusual colored tissue in your dog’s mouth, have it examined immediately. If diagnosed early, many oral cancers have a relatively good prognosis.

10. I’ve tried many times to brush my dog’s teeth with no success. She seems to hate it. Is there anything else I can do to take better care of my dog’s teeth?

You’re not alone. In fact, many articles have been written over the years on how people struggle with this very basic procedure on their pets. People just sometimes find it hard to brush their dog’s teeth every day. So what can you do? First, it is recommended to have your pet’s teeth professionally cleaned under anesthesia once a year by a specially trained veterinary technician. This is perhaps the single most important thing a pet parent can do for their pet when they can’t brush the teeth daily. While they’re under, oral x-rays can be taken to make sure there are no hidden problems lurking out of sight underneath the gums. Next, you can provide your dogs with chew treats approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) to help remove plaque and tartar. Many have special ingredients embedded in them that help reduce harmful mouth bacteria. A regular rinse of your dog’s mouths with an antimicrobial rinse designed to kill pathogenic bacteria that can cause gum infection is helpful as well. This also helps leave their breath highly kissable. Finally, at least once a week take a peek inside your dog’s mouth to make sure everything looks, and smells, healthy. See, taking care of your dog’s mouth isn’t so hard after all!

Stay tuned for the first installment of Top 10 Cat Dental Questions…and the Answers coming soon.

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