Veronica DeLisle | August 22 2018
We’ve all heard the classic line “age before beauty”, but why not have an older pup who also looks as good as they did when they were young? Your dog’s health stems from a lot of different places, and one of the biggest is their hygiene. There are two main types of dog hygiene: dental health and skin/coat health. Here are some ways to keep both as squeaky clean and beautiful as possible!
Your Pup’s Chompers
Just like humans, dogs have teeth that need to be taken care of. They can be subject to the same ailments as humans like bad breath, broken or loose teeth, misalignment of teeth, and more. Actually, a lot of these are only symptoms of a bigger disease; periodontal disease. It is the most common dental disease found in dogs! Periodontal disease occurs when your dog’s teeth have a buildup of plaque that goes untreated. This then hardens and turns into tartar. Although tartar above the gumline can be easily removed, when found below the gumline it can be damaging, and lead to infection. The gums begin to recede and lose their function, thus resulting in damage to the jawbone and the tissues that connect the teeth to the jawbone.
There are warning signs for periodontal disease, so be on the lookout if you think your dog may have it. Look for things such as bad breath, broken or loose teeth, teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar, abnormal chewing or drooling, reduced appetite or plain refusal to eat, bleeding from mouth, or swelling in areas surrounding mouth. These aren’t the only dental health problems though, your pup may have other maladies such as abscesses or infected teeth, cysts or tumors in mouth, misalignment of teeth/bite, broken/fractured jaw, or palate defects, so it’s essential to bring your dog into a dental veterinarian at least once a year.
How can you prevent these headaches and promote your dog’s dental hygiene at home? The same way you do for yourself: brush those teeth! It’s a great idea to get your dog accustomed to you touching their mouth, especially if they’re at a young age. There are many different ways to do this, though the best is with some kind of food-based reward. Teeth brushing should occur everyday, but if that’s not possible then several times a week should be okay. There are special canine wipes and pads that can be used to wipe your pup’s teeth in a pinch as well! A lot of dog owners use special dental treats that their dogs can chew on, but not all work as effectively as daily brushing. Check with your vet to see which products work the best for your pup. Always be sure to keep an eye on what they’re chewing as well! Hard items can cause their tooth to chip, which is painful and dangerous to your dog’s dental health; it can lead it infection if the nerve end is exposed! Keep your dog’s toy box stocked with healthy, fun and chewable toys!
Shiny Fur and Healthy Skin
Bath time for your dog may not seem like the most fun chore, but it is 100% necessary to keep your pup healthy for a long time! Without a routine bathing or grooming schedule your dog can be subject to ailments such as dandruff, itchy skin, excessive shedding and of course, unpleasant smell. These things make both you and your dog unhappy, so here are some tips to keeping their coat look and feel as healthy as it can!
One of the biggest questions dog owners ask when it comes to bathing is “how often should they be washed?” The answer is not an easy one however. The majority of dog experts and veterinarians say that your dog’s bath routine depends on a few factors. Bath time depends on your breed of dog, their general health, what kind of coat they have and even how much activity and where it’s done. If you have a pooch who enjoys lounging on the couch more than going on a walk, they will probably not need to be bathed as often. If your dog loves rolling in new smells at the dog park, they’ll probably need frequent bath times! Some dogs benefit more from a good brushing than a bath, others need special anti-itch shampoo, overall it depends on your dog. If you’re unable to devote the time to keeping your dog’s skin and fur happy, set up an appointment with a professional dog groomer! Doing so ensures that your dog is getting the best treatment to maintain their wellness while you run your errands, go to work, or do whatever needs doing.
When it comes to bathing your dog it can be overwhelming when trying to find the right shampoo. One of the biggest things to remember is that dog skin has a different pH level that human skin. Our skin has a pH balance of 5 while dog skin is at 7. This means that you should not use human shampoo or soap on your pup because it was made for a different acidity level! Make sure to use dog shampoo, but to also check the ingredient list. Sleepy Cotton has a line of dog bathing products that are designed specifically for dogs, and are made of all natural ingredients. Both the Spa Shampoo Bars and Melting Balms come in a variety of scents to help with specific ailments (anxiety, bug repellent, ect). They are designed to moisturize your dog’s skin and keep their fur healthy and shiny.
If you’re unsure of how often to bathe your dog or what kind of shampoo to use, check in with your vet and see what they recommend. You want to keep your dog’s skin and coat as healthy as possible to ensure a healthy, long life. Old dogs are beautiful too, and we want your pup to be around as long as possible!