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Taking Care of Your Frenchies Teeth
Note: The following article is not meant to replace the advice of a qualified vet. Veterinary advice should always be your first course of action. The purpose of this article is really just to put some context and awareness around the subject of canine dental care.
In reality dental problems are common to all dogs, not just French Bulldogs. However because of their unique facial structure, Frenchies are more likely than most other breeds to experience issues with broken, worn, or misaligned teeth. Furthermore, this inherent weakness unfortunately makes French Bulldogs more at risk of problems like plague, tartar and gum disease.
The good news is that by being aware of the potential for issues (and by being proactive in managing symptoms early) you can avoid the longer-term consequences.
Canine Gum Disease
It’s easy for most people to get confused between the meaning of terms like plaque and tarter, so if that’s you you’re not alone!
Plaque is essentially a soft film that coats the inside of a dog’s mouth soon after they have eaten. It’s a mixture of saliva, bits of food and bacteria. Tartar, on the other hand, is the yellowy / brown stain that we see on our dogs teeth. Tarter is particularly visible at the top or bottom of the tooth by the gums.
Gum disease is caused by a build-up (combination) of plaque and tartar. In its milder form, gum disease is called ‘gingivitis’. As with the human condition, a dog’s gums appear to be red and swollen. They may even bleed, during and after eating. In its severe form its called periodontal disease.
Gingivitis is a common condition and luckily it mainly affects the soft tissue in the mouth and not so much the teeth and their supporting structure. Obviously, the earlier we can identify gum disease and take action, the better. Before it turns into periodontal disease!
It’s not always easy to spot gingivitis in the early stages of development. So, often the best way to identify that there may be a problem is by observing changes in your Frenchies behaviour. These changes may include;
- Odd eating habits such as eating on one side of the mouth only.
- Not wanting to be touched around the head and jaws.
- You Frenchie is making noises when they eat.
- There is blood in their water bowl or on their ‘chew’ toys.
- You start to notice their breath has become particularly bad.
Some Ideas on Preventing Gum Disease
As the old adage goes: Prevention is better than the cure. As a minimum, you should be taking your Frenchie to your veterinarian at least once a year for dental cleaning. However, there are also a number of things that you should include into your Frenchies daily routine to help prevent the onset of gum disease.
Here are some of them:
Brush Their Teeth Regularly.
Brushing their teeth for them is probably the easiest and most effective way for you to prevent dental problems developing. Doing this will definitely help to control the build-up of plaque.
At first, you Frenchie wont know what you are trying to do and they will probably resist the brushing sensation. Although, with proper training you shouldn’t have any issues with this sooner or later. If possible, consider training them on brushing early in the puppy stage.
Additionally, you will need to use the right toothbrush and toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste because it contains some ingredients, like fluoride, that may hurt your dog. You will need to get a product that is meant for dog use only. Again, the best place to get advice on brushing is from your local vet.
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Use a Dental Water Additive
If you are having a real struggle getting your Frenchie to cooperate in brushing their teeth, you could use a dental water additive instead. (There is no harm in using both methods!) Typically you would add the solution to their drinking water. Doing this will help reduce the bacteria that are present in your dogs mouth and it will help freshen their breath too.
Provide Some Dental Chews
Dental chews may also be used as an alternative to brushing. The benefit is that they see it as a treat and will be more easily accept it than a toothbrush. As your Frenchie chews on them, they help to remove food particles that may be stuck in between the teeth. They also help to get rid of plaque and tartar too.
Serve Only Healthy Food
Ultimately, the cornerstone for promoting healthy teeth with all breeds of dog is to feed them with only healthy food. High-quality meals mean that you are providing the right nourishment so their teeth will stay strong and healthy. Alternatively, poor quality snacks will always contribute to more serious oral problems developing over time.
For more information about providing a healthy and nutritious diet, please see our article: Tips on Feeding Your French Bulldog
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