Keep Your Lab A Smiling

Dental health is one of the most important things you can do to prevent illnesses in your Labrador. Dental disease in Labs is easily preventable. Regular home care (brushing), regular examinations by a Vet and regular cleanings by a Vet will keep your Lab’s teeth healthy.

Without this proper dental care your Lab may suffer from inflamed and swollen gums, broken or loose teeth, disgusting breath, and pain that comes with these problems. Labradors, just like humans, can have a toothache.

Labradors do not get cavities but periodontal disease (gum disease) occurs in Labradors just as it does in humans. It can cause infections, tooth loss, and pain. Infections from the teeth can enter the blood stream and do damage to the organs. Over 75% of Labs will develop periodontal disease without preventative treatment.

Gum disease can be halted and somewhat reversed with regular cleanings and antibiotics. It is best to stop the disease before it starts with:

Brushing – Daily brushing of your Labrador’s teeth is the best way to prevent plaque buildup. This needs to be done with a soft toothbrush and special toothpaste that you can purchase at your Vet’s or a specialty pet store.

Dental Diets – The dry foods are better for preventing dental problems than wet foods are. Some foods are specially made to reduce plaque build up. Read the labels on your foods.

Annual Cleanings by your Veterinarian – These cleanings need to be done starting when your Lab is one year old. Your Lab has to be anesthetized during this procedure so that the veterinarian can reach the entire mouth. Make sure that you allow your vet to do the preanesthesia testing to make sure your Lab has no hidden problems that would cause problems with having anesthesia.

Chew Bones – Your Lab will love this option. Chew bones can play a large part in keeping your Lab’s teeth clean and preventing tartar build up. Remember never to feed your Lab cooked bones as they can splinter and cause digestive problems.

There are many symptoms of gum disease. If you notice any of the below listed symptoms you should take your Lab to your vet for an examination.

• Red or bleeding gums
• Staining of the teeth
• Visible tartar on the teeth
• Bad breath
• Drooling or discharge from the nose
• Weight loss
• Loss of appetite or difficulty in eating
• Pawing at the mouth
• Loss of normal energy

Dental cleanings are not inexpensive. They are an investment in your Lab’s health. Problems which are corrected in their early stages are easy to treat. Good dental health is important to prevent diseases and extend the life of your Lab.

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