Brushing your playmate’s teeth is a challenge on its own, although instead of being a chore for you and your dog it should rather be a nice and delightful activity to start the day – where both you and your dog will be looking very forward to! And, what’s more – it is a sure thing to happen!
By committing to the activity properly, you can easily prevent dental disease, which is one of the most common diseases in the canine world!
We will introduce you to a step-by-step plan on how to gradually introduce your dog to tooth brushing as well as the tools needed to complete the activity!
While your dog is still a puppy, you do not have to start the tooth brushing procedure as their baby teeth are erupting. Baby teeth will soon start to fall out in order to make room for permanent (adult) teeth. During the teeth changing period, their gums are more delicate and fragile, therefore inserting brushes may cause pain to your dog, which in result will cause irritation and avoidance! Therefore, keeping chewing toys around and observing how the process is going should be good enough during this time!
Late Puppyhood – Early Adulthood
As soon as your dog’s baby teeth have been replaced by permanent adult teeth – without any problems – then, you should get started with the tooth brushing introduction! This usually happens at about 8 months of age!
Introducing Tooth Brushing
The best way to do this is by gradually introducing the toothpaste! Never use human toothpaste or baking soda for that matter, as these are not healthy for your dog because they contain fluoride, which is very poisonous to dogs!
You can find decent toothpastes, special for dogs, in most of the good pet stores! And, they come in various flavors. You can play with the flavors for a while, until you find the one your dog loves!
Start by introducing the toothpaste with your finger – gently insert your finger in your dog’s mouth and easily stroke the teeth!
Afterwards, start introducing the toothbrush! The best toothbrush to use is one that is soft and bristled or the double-headed ones, in order to be able to get in between their teeth carefully and clean all around!
Anytime you approach the procedure, give praise, affection and rewards to your dog! After a short while, you will notice your dog being very comfortable with the activity!
Then, start with proper brushing strategy! To do it good, you should stroke at a 45-degree angle and clean below the gum line!
And then if possible, progress to tooth brushing twice a day – once in the mornings and once in the evenings! Pick a time of day that can easily become routine and convenient for both of you! You will soon notice your dog asking for the tooth-brushing routine, all on his own!
Benefits of Tooth Brushing
Tooth brushing removes daily accumulated plaque from your dog’s teeth! The plaque, if not cleaned daily, will slowly turn into bio-film, which are a group of bacteria or microorganisms that stick to each other and they can then slowly progress into your dog’s gums and the bloodstream! You definitely should prevent this from happening! Plaque will also bring cavities in your dog’s teeth while at the same time risk bringing other health problems in your dog’s overall well-being!
Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly is a great way to keep his gums and teeth healthier and fight gum disease!
Other Health Risks, if not Brushing
- Periodontal Disease, which is a disease that 85% of pets get by the time they reach 3 years of age.
- Bad breath, painful chewing, and tooth loss.
- The bacteria (bio-film) accumulated under the gum can travel to the heart, kidneys, and liver of your dog.
* Periodontal Disease is a progressive disease of the supporting tissues, which surround the teeth. It also causes early tooth loss in dogs!
A professional thorough dental cleaning is required to remove accumulated plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth! The downside of it is that the dog is required to undergo total anesthesia for it, each time!
By providing regular at-home dental care, you will keep your dog’s mouth healthy as well as maximize the length of intervals between necessary professional dental cleanings!
Other Good Tools to Help Maintain Teeth Healthy
Other supporting tools to maintain your dog’s teeth healthy are adequate chewing toys! There are a number of chew toys and synthetic bones made especially to strengthen gums and teeth! Avoid very hard chewing toys in order to prevent broken teeth!
There are also mouth rinses available for dogs, which you can use from time to time!
Another good factor to keeping your dog’s teeth healthy is hard, crunchy food instead of soft food! Soft food can easily get stuck in your dog’s teeth as well as accumulate in between their teeth, which will cause decay and further dental problems!
When to see a Veterinarian
Try to visit your veterinarian as often as possible – for general checkups as well as mouth checks! If possible, try to get your dog’s mouth checked by a vet every week or so!
Even more so, if you notice any of the following dental signs and problems:
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Changes in your dog’s chewing or eating habits
- Discolored, crooked, broken or missing teeth
- Misaligned teeth
- Red, painful, swollen or bleeding gums
- Yellowish-brown tartar crusted along your dog’s gum line
- Bumps within the mouth, or other various growths
How Often to see a Veterinarian
If you find it difficult and time consuming to take your dog to the vet every week or so, then you must definitely do a dental examination at least every six to twelve months! This one, you should not escape!
Moreover, it will save you a lot of money in the long run! In some cases, these checkups will also be lifesavers!
Also, late dental care will result with anesthesia in order to get your dog’s teeth and gums cleaned, as the buildup could be quite bad!
Certainly, the best way to avoid all trouble is by committing to regular brushing, chewing toys, appropriate food, and regular veterinarian checkups! You and your dog will be smiling with an ease!