From their first days as newborn puppies through their years as adult dogs, oral hygiene should be a part of your golden retrievers’ overall health care. When teeth get neglected, cavities can develop and cause your dog pain and discomfort. Once gum disease develops, this can lead to infections that will affect your pet’s overall health and well-being.
Oral health is as important for your golden retriever as it is for you. Dogs can get cavities and gum disease the same as humans. Regular teeth cleaning at home and visits to the vet at least once a year for teeth cleaning is necessary to maintain proper oral hygiene for your pet.
Many new dog owners have questions about puppy teething, chewing behavior, and when it’s OK to give them dental chews. You should always consult with your vet about how to properly care for your golden retriever’s teeth, but here are the answers to some commonly asked questions.
How Many Teeth Does a Golden Retriever Have?
Your puppy started growing its first set of teeth shortly after birth, starting around three or four weeks. There will be 28 teeth in your puppy’s mouth once they all come in. After three to four months, puppies start to lose these first teeth and their adult teeth start coming in.
An adult golden retriever has 42 adult teeth which they will have for the rest of their lives—as long as they are cared for properly, of course.
What Age Do Golden Retriever Puppies Lose Their Teeth?
Puppies are almost always born without any teeth. Their puppy teeth start coming in around three to four weeks after birth. Puppy teeth, also called deciduous teeth or milk teeth, are sharper than the adult teeth that will replace them.
Pet owners can expect their golden retriever puppies to start losing their first set of teeth at between 12 and 16 weeks.
Golden Retriever Teeth Issues
Many dog breeds experience dental disease, but golden retrievers are even more likely to have issues. Dental disease starts with a buildup of tartar on the teeth. This tartar, and the resulting bacteria, can lead to gum infections as well as infections of the tooth root.
Not only can these infections lead to a loss of teeth, but they can also lead to other complications such as liver, heart, and kidney damage. Proper dental care is needed to ensure the health of your animal throughout his or her life.
How Long Do Dogs Teething Last?
Teething is an expected part of being a puppy. It’s a process where the initial set of teeth are replaced with the permanent set of adult teeth. The process can be painful for puppies and usually lasts for a period of between two and four weeks after the new teeth start coming in. The puppy’s adult teeth will begin replacing puppy teeth at around four months.
Giving puppies chew toys that were designed for puppy teething will help them through this process.
How Often Should You Get Your Dog’s Teeth Cleaned?
Many vets recommend that owners have their dog’s teeth cleaned every six months to a year depending on the size of the dog. Smaller dogs experience gum disease at a higher rate than larger breeds due to overcrowding of the teeth. This overcrowding allows for more plaque to get retained and that leads to tartar buildup.
Since Golden Retrievers are more likely to experience gum disease than other breeds, it may be best to err on the side of caution and have cleanings done every six months.
How Long Does a Dog Dental Ceaning Take?
A regular dog teeth cleaning typically takes between 45 minutes and an hour to complete. The vet will sedate the dog and clean the teeth with an ultrasonic scaler. A hand scaler is then used to clean the gums and in between teeth. The mouth is then rinsed and the teeth polished. One more rinsing and then a fluoride treatment is given.
Can Dogs Die from Teeth Cleaning?
While anesthesia is quite safe for dogs, deaths do occur occasionally. It is very rare for a dog to die from an anesthesia-related cause, but vets should inform dog owners of the risks involved.
Prior to putting the dog under sedation, the vet will examine the dog’s physical condition to determine if it is safe to use anesthesia. This exam will include blood work and consider the age, breed, and medical history of the dog.
How Often Should Dogs Have Dental Chews?
Dental treats have many benefits for dental health in dogs. They can help get rid of “dog breath” and improve the health of both gums and teeth. They are not intended to be a substitute for regular cleanings, however.
That said, how often you decide to give your dog dental chews is up to you. Some dog owners give their dogs dental chews every day while others prefer to give them once or twice per week.
Do I Really Need to Get My Dogs Teeth Cleaned?
Yes, you really need to have your dog’s teeth cleaned. Your dog’s teeth are no different from yours in terms of how likely they are to get cavities and develop gum disease. Infections from decaying teeth are painful and can lead to further dental issues as well as infections that can cause liver, heart, and kidney damage.
Can I Clean My Dog’s Teeth Myself?
You can and should clean your dog’s teeth on a regular basis. Doing it yourself is no substitute for a complete teeth cleaning procedure performed by a vet, but whatever you can do between professional cleanings improves the overall oral health of your golden retriever. You can start when your dog is a puppy and continue throughout their adult life.
There are toothbrushes designed specifically for use in cleaning dog teeth. Some fit right on the end of your finger. If you don’t have one of these then a child’s toothbrush is a good substitute. There are also a number of toothpastes on the market made for dogs. These come in flavors your dog probably already loves, like chicken and beef.
Never use toothpaste made for humans as they may contain ingredients like Xylitol which is toxic to dogs.
Are Dogs in Pain after Teeth Cleaning?
Depending on the treatment, your golden retriever may experience a bit of pain and discomfort after teeth cleaning. Your dog may have a dental issue that you weren’t previously aware of so your vet can advise you on how the procedure went and what type of care they may need afterward. They may prescribe pain medication in some instances.
If the procedure was routine, then you may want to take it easy on the chew toys in the hours immediately after the cleaning. Otherwise, you can play with your dog as you normally would, which may even help them forget about any discomfort they may still be feeling.
Why Does My Dog’s Breath Smell Fishy?
Every dog owner has gotten a whiff of their dog’s bad breath. While we can’t expect them to have minty-fresh breath every time they greet us, stinky breath could be a sign of a medical issue.
Halitosis, or chronic bad breath, is a symptom of gum disease. A fishy smell coming from your dog’s mouth is probably not originating in their mouths at all unless they just ate a big bowl of salmon-flavored kibble.
It’s more likely that the odor is being caused by anal glands secretions that get into the dog’s mouth when they clean themselves. It’s not pleasant to think about and no amount of teeth cleaning will get rid of the odor if it is being caused by these secretions. You will need to take your dog to the vet for treatment of the glands.
Right Time for Brushing
There is no right or wrong time of day or night to clean your dog’s teeth. The important thing is that you choose a time when your dog is calm and relaxed.
As far as the frequency of the cleaning, it is recommended that you brush your dog’s teeth two or three times per week for about two minutes at a time. They will also appreciate a nice treat or playtime afterward as a reward.
Clean Your Golden Retriever’s Teeth Regularly
All dogs should have their teeth cleaned on a regular basis. Golden retrievers are no exception. In fact, this particular breed has a higher risk for dental problems so owners should be vigilant about their dog’s overall dental hygiene.
Brushing their teeth two to three times a week is good while at home, but golden retrievers should also have the vet clean their teeth every six months or once every year.
Why to Stop Golden Retriever Puppy Chewing
Puppy owners are all too familiar with puppy chewing. Chewing is a natural part of your puppy’s young life. It helps them with the teething process and is a stress-releasing activity. It’s also how they explore their world and play biting is a form of affection.
Chewing can also be very destructive, however. When your puppy insists on chewing on your expensive dress shoes or other clothing, this can be very frustrating.
It’s important not to prevent your dog from chewing altogether or punish them for doing trying to chew on things around the house. Instead, your puppy should be redirected toward chewing approved chew toys.
Safety is the most important thing for your puppy. Before you bring them home for the first time you should inspect the house for things that could be dangerous for them to chew on.
Spraying apple bitter on electrical cords and charging cables is a smart and safe way to protect your dog. It won’t hurt them if it gets into their mouths, but dogs (and most humans) think it is nasty. It will teach them that those things are no fun and are better left alone.
Your local pet store will have plenty of puppy chew toys that your dog will love. No matter how many toys we buy our puppies, however, they will always want to chew on inappropriate things. Supervision is required during these early days of your puppy’s life.