We realize that the concept of filling a pup's mouth with orthodontic braces might seem like a ridiculous idea, but the idea isn't to make things look nice - a vet can fit a dog for braces if their teeth cause them pain and trouble eating. Learn more about how orthodontic treatment is a great help to some dogs' teeth below!
When we first heard the term "dog brace," we assumed the term referred to a leg or orthotic brace, commonly used to help a dog stand while recovering from an injury.
But we’re not talking about that dog brace. Today, we're addressing the much rarer but occasionally necessary orthodontic appliances that professionals fit on our pups.
While the notion of a dog getting braces may seem vain and unnecessary, there are rare cases when orthodontic treatment will significantly improve your dog's quality of life instead of dental surgery.
Learn more about this rare canine dental treatment and how it's helping some pups feel a lot better.
Can dogs get braces?
Yes! Dog braces are quite successful for correcting certain jaw conditions that affect a pup's ability to eat or open and close its mouth.
- Applying braces for a dog would be emotionally traumatic, so dogs are put under anesthesia, making the procedure only suitable for healthy dogs that can handle the process.
- Doggie braces only work well for dogs that don't mind their mouths touched and prodded as a vet makes regular adjustments.
- Under certain circumstances and with the right dog, braces can be the best option to fix dental issues.
Why would dogs need braces?
There are a few specific circumstances in which it might make sense to get your pup fitted for braces.
Here are the practical reasons for your dog to get braces:
- Teeth in improper order, sticking far out of the natural jawline
- A bite in which a dog's teeth hit each other or soft tissue
- Trauma or an accident moving a pup's teeth out of line
Sometimes a pup's mouth is so misaligned they require jaw surgery, but if there's a way around a costly and traumatic surgery, it's worth looking into further.
Human braces vs. dog braces
You'll notice that none of these reasons are strictly cosmetic. That's because any reputable vet won't give a dog braces for any reason other than a genuine functional need for the pup.
If it makes more sense for a vet to pull an out-of-whack tooth, they will. Dog braces cost quite a bit, and pulling the tooth will ordinarily be the less expensive option.
When a relatively young dog needs the tooth for useful jaw function, the owners may consider getting braces for their dog.
While you might notice a misaligned or malformed jaw impacts their function, your pup is also very likely to be in pain because of these oral issues.
Dog’s don’t care about how pretty their teeth look, and neither should their owners. The beauty of our pups mainly lies in their individuality and charming quirks.
Humans get braces for many different reasons - sometimes they're functional, but they're often cosmetic: many people feel that they want a straighter smile and have misalignment issues that don't affect function. These are not acceptable reasons for a pup to do the same.
Doggie dental care
Learning how to take care of your dog extends to their dental care too. Whether your pup needs braces or not, vets always recommend a good oral care regimen.
Although a dog's mouth is much more challenging than ours, they're still prone to many of the same oral decay and diseases as us.
- Plaque and tartar will accumulate on your doggo's teeth, so vets recommend regular brushing to keep them at bay.
- Invest in a doggie toothbrush and dog toothpaste to brush your pup's teeth as much as once a day and at least three times weekly. It's vital to get doggie versions of these items, as human toothpaste can be toxic for pups.
- You can get your pup dental bones to encourage healthy chewing that will cut down on plaque and tartar build-up too.
- Adding doggie mouthwash to your pet's water bowl will keep their breath fresh while killing bacteria and reducing dental plaque.
Proper oral care from a young age can prevent many tooth issues for dogs as they age.
Extra care for dog braces
If your pup ends up with a mouthful of braces, he'll need a slightly altered oral care regime while the brackets are on their teeth.
The vet that applies the braces to your dog's teeth should give you detailed care instructions for the dental appliance.
Altered care for a pup with canine braces:
- An owner should take extra care brushing around the braces and brackets while trying to hit every angle they can to brush well underneath the wires.
- Regularly flush the pup's mouth with an oral antiseptic to keep bacteria at bay
- A dog with braces may need to switch to a soft food diet and avoid chew-toys and bones, which could pop the brackets off a pup's teeth.
Final thoughts on doggie braces
A pup's circumstances to need braces are rare - most jaw and tooth issues don't affect jaw function or cause pain.
For those issues that affect a dog's mouth function, check out inexpensive treatments that are less prolonged, like tooth removal.
Our dogs' mouths are pretty vital - they use them to eat, play, and communicate with us. In some cases, fitting a dog for braces is the best option to give them a comfortable and happy life, which they fully deserve!