42. What’s the importance of this number? 42 is the number of teeth a healthy adult dog should have. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), 80% of dogs can show signs of oral disease by the age of 3 years old. What’s worse is that our fur babies don’t always exhibit signs of dental disease, so it is up to us as pet parents to be proactive. Dental health tends to be one of the most overlooked hygiene areas by pet parents. “It is estimated that more than two-thirds of dogs over three years of age suffer from some degree of periodontal disease, making it the most common disease affecting dogs.” (VCA). What is even more terrifying, is that poor dental hygiene can lead to other major health issues such as diabetes or heart disease - both of which can be prevented. So what can we do to help keep that magic number of 42 and ensure our babies have as many (healthy) teeth as possible? Ways To Be Proactive:
Regular brushing at home: would you ever miss a day or night of brushing your teeth? Probably not, so your fur baby should not either! At a minimum, you should aim to brush their teeth three times per week
Dental Wipes: if you have a fidgety fur baby and brushing their teeth is incredibly challenging, there are plenty of dental wipes out there
Non-anesthetic Dental: as my own fur baby got older, the thought of anesthesia really made me nervous so I wanted to avoid it when possible. You can look into doing non-anesthetic dental cleanings once every six months
Dry Dog Food: Kibble is typically known for causing less damage to our babies teeth. With canned / wet food, it can get stuck in their teeth, leaving residue which can eventually build up to plaque and tartar, especially if not brushed regularly
Dog Mouthwash: this can be added to their water - please never use a human grade mouthwash or toothpaste for your fur baby and help to keep their sparkly whites
Chew Toys / Bones: this can help to strengthen their teeth
Dental hygiene is very important, my own baby is 13, and I recently met a fellow pet parent who has a 14-year old. Unfortunately, her fur baby has no teeth left. Let this be a testament that taking care of your kiddo’s teeth should be at the top of your priority list. While some may argue that dental cleanings are expensive, I can assure you that this is a small price to pay up front versus potential, larger issues you could face down the road.
As always, please be sure to discuss any dental treatment plans with a licensed veterinarian. Happy Brushing!
References: VPI: Preventing dental problems cheaper than treating (dvm360.com)
Dental Disease in Dogs | VCA Animal Hospital (vcahospitals.com)
5 Scary Consequences of Neglecting Your Dog’s Teeth | PetMD
4 Facts About Dental Disease in Pets - Animal Medical Center of Wyoming (gilletteveterinarian.com)