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Just like humans, dogs need their teeth looking after too! It's one of the care steps that is often over looked and we just assume that bad breath comes hand in hand with having a dog. Luckily this isn't the case and we have listed everything here to ease the smell and also make sure your furry friends mouth is as healthy as possible!
Do English Bulldogs need their teeth brushing?
Due to their distinctive short faces it is common for bulldogs to suffer over crowding of the mouth which does unfortunately make them prone to gum disease, tartar build up and dental issues. The smaller jaw is often the main problem when it comes to over crowding of the teeth and if these are severe and are identified as a problem by your veterinarian then these teeth may have to be removed to prevent any further health issues arising.
It is important to build a relationship with your dog where they are comfortable with you touching in and around their mouth so that you can check often for any issues and also clean their teeth and gums, we recommend once a week looking into your dogs mouth making sure you lift their lips to expose their gums. The gums should be pink in colour, not white or red. White or pale gums often mean there is an under lying health problem in your bulldog like anemia, internal bleeding, heart disease etc so if the gums to appear paler than normal or white do not hesitate and call your veterinarian. If the gums appear red this could mean your dogs is showing signs of stomatitis, gingivitis or over heating again we advise that you call your veterinarian if the gums look bright red in colour.
There are a few signs you should look for that indicate your dog may be struggling with a dental problem, strong bad breath, inflamed gums, excessive drooling or avoiding eating. If any of these seem to be present it is always best to consult your vet.
So in short yes you do need to be brushing your bulldogs teeth! This may seem daunting at first but we have listed all of tips and tricks in this article so you can feel confident you are doing all you can to keep your dogs mouth happy and healthy.
How often should I brush my English Bulldogs teeth?
When you do not clean your dogs teeth bacteria begins to grow on the teeth and gum line, this bacteria then attracts and promotes more bacteria to grow which in turns causes plaque to build up which eventually could lead to the bacteria entering the gum line. When bacteria does enter the gums this can create a greater risk of tissues damage and in some cases bone issues.
Its is recommended that you clean your dogs teeth and gums 2-3 times a week to prevent any bacteria growing, and you should take your dog to get their teeth professional checked and cleaned 1-2 times a year so can be sure you are doing all you can to ward off any nasty health problems
The risks of not cleaning your English Bulldogs teeth
Many owners for various reasons don't clean or look after their dogs teeth, in fact many dogs have dental disease by the age of 3 which leads to sore and swollen gums and eventually tooth loss. Other risk factors of not brushing your dogs teeth can also be;
Dental disease can effect your dogs immune system - If your dogs develops dental disease this can cause the immune system to spike and provoke a inflammatory response which can lead to damage in tissue and also may weaken your dogs ability to fight of infections.
Dogs with diabetes can suffer complications - Diabetes makes your dogs body unable to regulate their blood sugar levels normally if you add inflammation cause by dental disease to the mix this makes it increasingly more challenging to manage the diabetes so it is especially important you look after the teeth of dogs who have diabetes.
Heart Disease - a study written by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association showed that dogs with dental disease have a risk of being six times more likely to suffer from endocarditis (heart disease) than dogs who do not have dental disease.
Pain for your bulldog - It is well known that bulldogs don't make it obvious when they are in pain so if your dog is suffering from any dental or oral issues and you don't routinely check and clean there mouth this may go unnoticed and untreated until it is too late.
Signs it's time to take your dog to a veterinarian
As a dog owner you never want your dog to be in any discomfort or pain so here are a few warning signs to be on the look out for,
Strong and foul breath that is newly present
Chipped and or broken teeth can be an indication that decay is present
If they are struggle to eat or seem off of their food (this could be a number of things also)
Red lines on the gums can be an indicator that there is an infection present
If any of these signs or symptoms are present or you are unsure it is always best to get it looked at by a vet.
English Bulldog teeth cleaning instructions
Your dog is most likely not going to very happy and willing to let you put a tooth brush in their mouth first time. If you don't take familiarising your dog with teeth brushing slowly it could end in a mess with your dog which could unfortunately lead to your dog developing anxiety associated with teeth brushing which could make checking for dental issues difficult. Take some time building a calm relationship full of praise and rewards with your dog first, here are a few tips to make the process more comfortable for you and your dog.
The first step of getting your dog comfortable is to ensure there are no signs of aggression or anxiety, some vets recommend massaging your dogs face with your fingers in a circular motions and then once your dog is comfortable with this step move to doing the same movement but on the inside of the mouth on the teeth. This may take a few times for your dog to get used to but ensure your are using positive reinforcements and maybe treats to keep the process fun and almost a game for your dog. This step is also useful to check if there are any chips or cracks in the teeth.
Once your dog is comfortable with the previous step place a small amount of canine toothpaste on your finger and allow your dog to taste it just like any other treat, once they have tasted it reward them with praise and a treat. One thing that can make brushing your dogs teeth easier is finding a flavour of canine tooth paste they enjoy. Companies do make these in various flavours to suit dogs like beef and chicken.
The next step is to introduce a pet toothbrush to the routine, they make many different types of tooth brushes for canines so it might mean a bit of trial and error to find the one that best suits your dog. Our favourite type of toothbrush is one that goes on your finger so you can mimic the sensation of the massage you carried out in the first step making it a lot more comfortable and familiar for your furry friend.
So you have got your dog comfortable with the sensation of tooth brushing but how do you actually do it? Follow the next few steps to get the best out of your brushing sessions. Using a tooth brush and canine tooth paste start at the back teeth and move the front and brush in small circular motions making sure you cover all surfaces of the teeth. Talk to your pet throughout the process keeping them calm and assured. It is recommended that your brush your bulldogs teeth for a minute, not they are unlikely to let you brush their teeth for the whole minute to make sure if they are showing any signs of not being comfortable you stop and praise your dog and when ready begin again. Remember to keep it light and fun so that your dog doesn't associate having their teeth brushed with stress and anxiety.
No matter how much your try some dogs will not allow you or anyone to go near their mouths, there are other options which might not be quite as effective as brushing but can keep plaque at bay. Toys that are made of hard rubber or nylon are great for bulldogs as they withstand chewing and they also help the clean the teeth when the dog gnaws on them. You can also look at changing your bulldogs diet to raw fed (always speak to your vet before changing your dogs diet) and you can also look a water or food additives which can help to keep tartar build up at bay.
The best thing you can do for your dog and for yourself is to routinely clean and check your dogs mouth, teeth and gums for any warning signs. Not only can dental problems be dangerous and painful for your dog but they be extremely expensive to treat. If you are uncertain about any of the information please speak to your local vet to figure out what is best for your dog.