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Caring for your puppy or dog

From dental hygiene and dealing with colds to good grooming and visiting the vet, this is where you can find out all about caring for your dog's health

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Your dog may not be able to tell you when something is wrong, but sadly four out of five dogs over the age of three have gum disease. It is the most common health problem that vets see in dogs today, and is caused by plaque and tartar build-up around the gum line, which can be reduced by an effective dental care routine.

How to brush your dog's teeth

Brushing your dog's teeth regularly is a great way to keep his or her gums and teeth healthy and fight gum disease. Introducing tooth brushing gradually will mean they learn to enjoy the experience. 

Working alongside The British Veterinary Dental Association, Pedigree® has created this simple step-by-step guide to ensure brushing your dog's teeth is both straightforward and successful.

You will need:

  • A pet toothbrush with medium bristles

  • Dog toothpaste (human toothpaste isn't good for dogs because it contains fluoride, which is toxic to dogs)

  • Some water

  • A quiet area with little or no distractions

  • Clean hands and short nails, for your dog's safety

  • Plenty of patience

Check the step-by-step guide for more information. 

Dental care myths

1. 'Dental care chews make my dog's gums bleed'

Chewing and tooth brushing can cause gum bleeding in dogs when gingivitis is present (as is common in humans). The more effectively a chew cleans to the gum line, the more likely inflamed gums are to bleed. Small spots of blood on the product should not cause concern, as is the case with continued brushing. Repeated use of chews should help this slight bleeding to reduce and eventually stop as gum health improves.

Continued or heavy bleeding could indicate a more severe form of periodontal disease. If you are concerned, a visit to your vet is recommended, for your dog to undergo a full clinical oral examination.

2. 'My dog eats a dental care chew really quickly which means they don't work'

Research shows that even when dogs take just 40-50 seconds to finish a chew, they still chew it between 90 and 130 times. This makes a big difference to the plaque and tartar on their teeth. So don't worry too much if your dog is a speedy chewer.

Pedigree dental care chews are scientifically proven to reduce the build-up of plaque at the gum line, where it matters most. This is thanks to its revolutionary texture that flexes around teeth to give a deep clean.

3. 'It's sugar that causes dental problems in dogs - just like in humans'

Dogs' mouths aren't as similar to ours as you might expect. Their saliva contains different substances, so they don't experience the same tooth decay that we do if we eat too many sugary sweets. Gum disease is a real issue for dogs, so preventing plaque and tartar is key to keeping their gums healthy into old age.

4. 'Dental care chews are a high calorie treat' 

Pedigree® dental care chews aren't a high calorie treat - they are sugar free with a medium stick containing just 82 calories. If you want to make sure that your dog doesn't gain weight, reduce the amount of food you give them at mealtimes slightly to compensate for the chews.

Pedigree dental products

Pedigree offers a range of products designed to help keep your dog's teeth in top condition. 

DentaStix®:  Pedigree Dentastix® are recommended by vets and are scientifically proven to help reduce the build-up of tartar by up to 80% when fed daily. They work through a combination of the unique X shape, special texture and active ingredients (sodium tripolyphosphate and zinc sulphate), which bond with the calcium in saliva and slow down the build-up of tartar.    

Dentaflex®: Pedigree Dentaflex® has been developed in association with Specialist Vet Dentists to provide a really deep clean. When fed twice a week, the special texture and active ingredients of DentaFlex® are scientifically proven to reduce the build-up of plaque at the gum line.

DentaStix Fresh®: All the goodness of DentaStix® with a unique blend of Green Tea Extract and Eucalyptus Oil to freshen breath and reduce VSCs that cause bacteria.

Find out more about the Pedigree® range.

Is your puppy or dog ill?

How do you know if your dog is ill? Use this quick checklist to see if they're in good shape, or whether a trip to the vet is needed:

  • Eyes should be clear and bright, with no discharge
  • Nose should be moist and cool, with dark pigmentation and no discharge
  • Breath should smell fresh, and your dog should be breathing normally - learn more about coughs and colds here
  • Gums should be uniformly pink, and change back to pink after less than two seconds when you press them
  • Teeth should be white and clean
  • Ears should look and smell clean
  • Coat should be shiny and not matted - learn more about grooming and parasites here 
  • Skin should be smooth, clean and supple (Tip: gently pull some skin from just over your dog's shoulder into a tent shape - if it doesn't snap back into place immediately, they're suffering from dehydration.)

Going through this checklist every week will help you to learn what's normal for your dog - making it much easier to know when they need medical attention. You can find out how to perform basic dog first aid, and read up on canine health on the Pedigree® website.

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Last updated: about 2 years ago