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Chances are, your parents and grandparents didn’t brush their dog’s teeth, but today’s pet parents understand the importance of good dental care for their pets.
Dental care for our dogs includes:
If you’ve never brushed your dog’s teeth, you be looking at your dog’s teeth and wondering, “How am I going to get him to sit still for this” and “Gulp! How exactly do I brush my dog’s teeth?”
Brushing your dog’s teeth doesn’t have to be a struggle or a task you – or she – dreads. With patience, and working up to a full-mouth brush, it may just become part of your dog’s home care routine. If you’re new to brushing, don’t rush it, you may get him to enjoy it!
It’s a rare pup who will sit next to you, allow you to pull back his lips and put a finger or a dog toothbrush in his mouth and not try to get away. When you put your fingers in your dog’s mouth he will think you’re playing and will lick or gnaw your fingers to see if you have any food on them.
The first step in brushing your dog’s teeth is to get him comfortable with you touching his muzzle, touching his gums and running your finger across his teeth. To get him interested in what you’re doing, put a tiny dollop of dog toothpaste on your finger and let him lick it off while you gently move your finger along his gums. Try different toothpaste flavors until you find one he likes; they come in chicken, beef and even vegetable flavor. Never use human toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth.
How To Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Brushing your dog’s teeth isn’t a “fad;” it’s a habit you need to undertake for a lifetime of healthy living for your beloved dog.
The benefits of brushing your dog’s teeth include:
Your veterinarian will check your dog’s dental health during the annual visit. The vet will check for tartar build up, inflamed gums and abscessed teeth. Your veterinarian may recommend a general dental cleaning and tooth removal if your dog has dental issues – this is done under anesthesia.
If you’re ready to brush your dog’s teeth and enhance his health, let’s get started.
Start brushing your dog’s teeth when he turns one-year-old. If you adopt an older dog, you can still brush his teeth and you’d use the same methods; it just may take you longer to get him accustomed to it.
Choose a time of day when your dog is relaxed and calm. Don’t try to brush his teeth when he first wakes up and is dashing around the house burning off pent up energy. Trying to calm him then trying to brush his teeth right after could lead to his resenting toothbrushing time. If he’s calmest right before bedtime, snuggle up with him and make brushing his teeth as much a part of your routine as you do giving him belly rubs and scratches behind his ears.
If you have a dog who is truly uncooperative and simply won’t let you brush his teeth, don’t put yourself in harm’s way. Talk with your veterinarian and he or she can recommend toys and treats designed to help loosen and remove plaque and tartar.
Regular veterinarian visits and dental check-ups, coupled with your diligent brushing of your dog’s teeth will help him live a long, happy life.
Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.
Robbi Hess is a full-time pet blogger and multi-published author. She shares her life with a diva Poodle, a goofy Goldendoodle, two Devon Rex, a senior ginger kitty and three reptiles!