5 Steps for Keeping Your Bulldog’s Mouth Healthy and Clean
By: Mary Timmons
Many bully owners think that “dog breath” is normal, and it can be, but only to a certain extent. Your bulldog’s breath won’t always be fresh, but if it has a persistent odor, you have a big problem!
Did you know that 80% of dogs over age 3 experience dental problems? Unfortunately, bulldogs are no exception. In fact, they are more prone to tartar buildup on their teeth because they are brachycephalic, or short-nosed.
In addition, periodontal disease, or gum disease as it is otherwise known, is one of the most common ailments for which vets treat dogs. And considering that gum disease can give your bully a higher risk of developing heart disease and kidney disease, good dental care is absolutely essential. Here are 5 steps for keeping your bulldog’s mouth healthy and clean.
#1. You Are What You Eat
Forget what you’ve always heard about kibble cleaning your dog’s teeth because dry dog food has very limited, if any, benefits to your bully’s dental health. Think about it, do you consider your teeth clean just because you crunch on some potato chips? Of course not!
Chewing is an important component of your bulldog’s dental health, and raw, meaty bones will clean his teeth better than any dog food you can buy. The raw meat contains natural enzymes that help break down plaque, and the bones have a mildly abrasive texture that will help remove plaque from the teeth as well.
In addition to the health benefits, your bully will love having raw, meaty bones in his regular diet! Remember never to use cooked bones because they can splinter, and you should always choose bones that are appropriate for your bully’s size.
#2. Chew, Chew, Chew
Feeding your bully treats is another opportunity to improve his dental health. Select dental chews, bones, or biscuits that are specifically designed to reduce plaque and tartar. Make sure you avoid treats with hard, unyielding surfaces such as antlers and cow hooves. Although they are popular items in pet supply stores, they may cause your bully to fracture a tooth.
Play time is another opportunity to improve your bulldog’s dental health. Rubber chew toys are a great choice as they are flexible and won’t damage your bully’s teeth. If your bully tends to eat his dental treats really fast, offer him a chew toy! Choose a chew toy that can be filled with an edible treat as your bully will likely chew on it for a longer period of time.
#3. Open Up and Say Aaahhh
Inspecting your bully’s mouth once a week is an important part of dental care. A healthy mouth will not have an odor, and healthy gums will have a pink color and hug the teeth. You should also check for loose and chipped teeth.
If you notice brown deposits around your bulldog’s gum line, your bully may already be suffering from oral disease. Another problem to watch for is bleeding gums, which are a symptom of gum disease. If you notice any of these signs, call your vet right away to schedule a dental exam.
#4. Got Teeth?
Brushing your bulldog’s teeth is the best way to prevent gum disease. If you start when your bully is a puppy, you will have a much easier time, but adult dogs can learn to tolerate, or even enjoy the process. They key to success is choosing a dog toothpaste flavor that your bully likes. You should never use human toothpaste as some of its ingredients can be toxic to dogs.
Positive reinforcement and patience are important when brushing your bully’s teeth. You don’t want to start with a toothbrush; your first couple of efforts should just involve allowing him to taste a small amount of toothpaste. Once he is comfortable with that, you can apply toothpaste to your finger and run it along his gums.
With plenty of praise and rewards, your bully will soon be ready for you to introduce him to a dog toothbrush and brush his teeth! You want to work from the back teeth to the front, and make small circles along the gum lines. Brushing your bully’s teeth will only take about one minute.
#5. Somebody Call a Doctor!
Every year you should take your bully to the vet for a dental exam and cleaning. Professional cleaning is necessary to remove plaque and tartar from your bulldog’s teeth, and to assess the overall health of his mouth. The only way your vet can completely and safely clean and inspect your bully’s teeth is to place him under anesthesia.
Your vet will intubate your bully to support his breathing during anesthesia and to prevent him from inhaling any bacteria during the cleaning process. In addition to cleaning your bully’s teeth, your vet will remove plaque and tartar from under the gums. In order to prevent future bacteria growth, your vet will polish out any scratches he finds in your bully’s tooth enamel. He will also check your bulldog for any signs of dental disease.
Flash Those Pearly Whites!
Taking care of your bully’s teeth is one of the most important things you can do to protect his overall health. A healthy mouth will smell better, and it will save your bulldog from the pain of tooth decay and gum disease. More importantly, protecting your bully from gum disease will help protect him from the damage it can cause to his heart, liver, and kidneys. Making dental care a priority is the key to a healthy bully with a gorgeous grin!