Last updated on November 19, 2014
Impress your friends on Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy, or in casual conversation with this canine health nugget: A dog’s saliva has no enzymes. Ah, the mystery of a dog mouth.
By now, most savvy dog moms and dads know the importance of brushing a dog’s teeth, how it can add years to a pooch’s life, and how many problems can be prevented and/or detected from establishing a good oral hygiene routine with your dog.
Human saliva contains enzymes, which means we chew our food and the saliva breaks the food down before it reaches the stomach. A dog’s saliva is devoid of enzymes, but their saliva acts as an antibacterial agent to kill germs. So what does this mean for dental care and oral hygiene? A lot!
The Enzyme with an “A”
Amylase is the enzyme in the saliva of most mammals, excluding dogs and cats. If you look at a dog’s teeth, they are designed to rip and tear meat and plants: They don’t spend a lot of time savoring the moment and tasting the fine foods that pass over the palate. How many times have you told your dog to slow down when he or she is eating?
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If your dog is over 3 years old, check his or her teeth. Statistically, about 80 percent of dogs show signs of dental disease at this ripe young age. Mild tooth discoloration leads to a plaque buildup from, yep, you guessed: saliva (and mineral) that harden and become tartar. What you can’t see will hurt your dog: That tartar below the gum line.
Cutting to the Chase
For many pet parents, the reasons for ignoring a dog’s teeth is because:
- Life is hectic and there never seems to be a good time to brush;
- Dogs don’t care for the toothbrush and are not receptive to it;
Since dogs can’t brush for themselves, and if one of the above two reasons applies to you, there are some things you can do to keep tartar and plaque to a minimum:
- Try the TropiClean Clean Teeth Gel for dogs. No brushing is required, as you apply two drops of the gel to each side of the dog’s mouth. Use this daily and it will mix with the pet’s saliva to coat the surfaces of the teeth. For maximum efficacy, don’t allow food or water for about 30 minutes after treatment. You can do this while sitting around at night, watching tv, reading a book, etc., and let the product do it’s magic while your dog lounges out with you. (P.S. It contains natural, holistic ingredients, see?)
- Our dog gets an occasional “after dinner mint,” as we call them: TropiClean’s Advanced Cleaning System fresh breath dental treats with green tea and flax seed. Bottom line: He loves it, the flaxseed is good for him, the baking soda and parsley freshen breath, and the Jinsei green tea extract helps with dental wellness. Oh, and made in the USA means peace of mind. Note: Be sure to watch your dog with any treat to ensure he or she chews it and does not try to take one bite and swallow it. Safety first.
These two methods, when combined with a regular brushing routine, are some of the reasons our 6-years-young Cocker Spaniel has yet to need a professional dental cleaning. Our previous Cocker Spaniel lived nearly 15 years without needing a professional dental cleaning for the very same reason: Attention to dental care.
Signs of Periodontal Disease
If your dog has any of the following issues, a veterinarian visit is in order: (many of these symptoms can be due to other co-existing or separate disease processes)
- Difficulty eating
- Pawing at the teeth or mouth
- Discharge from the nose
- Swelling under the eyes
- Bad breath
- Tooth discoloration or visible tartar
- Loose or missing teeth
- Red, swollen or bleeding gums
- Weight loss or loss of appetite
It is never too late to start a dental health routine. Check with your dog’s vet and then get started. For complete details on the TropiClean line and more tips so you can “Smooch Your Pooch,” check it out:
Question: Do you have a current dental care routine in place for your dog? How can we help you get one started?