Many owners do not understand the value of caring for their dog's teeth. As dogs age, the propensity for dental distress increases. The best way to ensure proper dental condition for your dog is to start while he is a pup.
Most dogs do not like their mouths touched. It is important for you, as an owner, to get the pup used to being handled at a very young age. At most veterinarian visits the mouth needs to be inspected. You want to make it easy for the vet to perform his examination. The best way for you to get your dog used to having his mouth touched is to begin touching it when you first get your pup. Make sure to handle the jaws, open the mouth, and touch the teeth in a relaxing way for a few minutes every so often until your pup is used to being handled in this way.
Also, at the conformation evaluation at NAVHDA tests, the judges will need to see the teeth of your dog and their job will be much easier if you have conditioned your pup to have its mouth examined.
Most vets recommend brushing a dog's teeth weekly. Special toothpaste and brushes for your dog can be purchased at pet stores. Toothpaste for dogs is most often quite tasty to them, so they shouldn't mind the brushing. You can then try a finger brush, accessible at your vet's office or pet supply store. Regular brushing will help prevent the buildup of calculus and debris on your dog's teeth. Giving your dog marrowbones or rawhides to chew on will assist in preventing buildup on your dog's teeth.
Even with proper preventive care, most dogs will eventually need a dental cleanse from your vet. Some owners use a dental tool and scrape the scale off the dog's teeth.
Don't let your dog's teeth get so covered that he will need a dental clean because your dog will need to be sedated. It is a light anesthesia and using the latest technology it is extremely safe.
A dog's ears require regular care. If Buster is scratching his ears against the carpet it is time to take a good look at what is going on. All dogs have bacteria and yeast growing naturally in their ears. The irritation starts when there is an abnormal build-up of earwax or yeast because of an increase in humidity or a lack of ventilation. As with most things, prevention is always the better solution than cure. Inspect your dog's ears regularly. Look at the ears and smell them. If there are brown deposits (earwax) or the ears smell bad, its time to get the ears cleaned. There are several home remedies that you can use for minor irritations. Try pouring vinegar into the ear canal and then rub or massage the ear. Vinegar lowers the PH of the ear, breaks up the wax and kills the yeast. A yeast infection is usually the most serious of the conditions found in dogs. Some owners use hydrogen peroxide that will also break up the wax and allow for the removal of the wax using cotton swaps. We have also tried light mineral oil. It seems to have a soothing effect especially when you massage the ear after you have filled the ear canal. It is best that you do this outdoors because after you release the dog he will shake his head violently and the oil will spread all over.
For more serious conditions, you should see your veterinarian who may prescribe Panalog or a Panalog Hexamite combination. Panalog has an oil that breaks up the hard earwax, an antibiotic to combat bacteria, a fungicide to stop yeast growth and a steroid to decrease the itch and inflammation. Hexamite kills ear mites. To prevent recurrence, a treatment should always be carried out over several consecutive days even after it looks like the ears have been cleaned up. Most treatments are prescribed for about 10 days.
Neglecting an ear infection will result in a chronic scarring and narrowing of the ear canal which will result in decreased ventilation, increased wax, moisture, yeast, etc. – a vicious cycle.