Pets and People

5 Puppy Dental Care Tips

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Puppies wouldn't be puppies if they weren't trying to get their mouths on everything! This normal pastime provides some relief from teething pain and pressure, and satisfies his curiosity about all the new things in his world.

Your puppy doesn't care what he gets his mouth on, so it's up to you to direct him. Household objects are an obvious no-no; in addition to property damage, he could break a tooth by chomping down on something too hard. Even though the first set is just temporary, a broken deciduous tooth introduces problems and warrants a trip to the vet.

Keep his chewing safe by offering a variety of chew toys, including some that are specifically made for teething. A chew toy should be hard but not rock solid; it should have some flexibility and give to the surface. If you can't dent a toy with your fingernail, it's probably too hard for your puppy.

Puppies frequently insist on chomping on something they shouldn't. Perhaps the cool, metal rails of your desk chair are just right for his sore gums. If he seems to be seeking relief for mouth pain, try freezing a rolled-up wet towel or rope toy and offering that. If you can't discourage him from your desk chair -- or other off-limits objects -- buy a bitter-tasting deterrent at your pet store. Applying it to the desired object will safeguard his mouth and your household.

While you don't want your puppy chewing the wrong things, you do want to encourage some healthy gnawing. Find out why next.

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