Do You Really Need to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth?
13 February, 2018
Our dogs’ dental health is just as important as the food they eat and daily exercise. Poor dental health can lead to not only mouth and gum disease but can affect your dog’s overall health. In fact, many dogs show signs of signs of gum disease by the time they’re four years old because they have not been provided with proper dental care. And brushing your dog’s teeth daily can help prevent gum disease.
Just as we brush our teeth daily, it’s important to try to do the same with your dog’s teeth. Most dogs are very amenable to daily brushing and with practice, you can get it done quickly and efficiently.
Some tips to help with brushing your dog’s teeth:
Get yourself a toothbrush made especially for dogs or a clean piece of soft gauze to wrap around your finger. Ask your vet for a toothpaste made especially for dogs. Don’t use human toothpaste which can irritate a dog’s stomach.
Taking these steps will make brushing a lot easier for the both of you:
1. First get your dog used to the idea of having her teeth touched. Massage her lips with your finger in a circular motion for 30 to 60 seconds once or twice a day for a few weeks. Then move on to your dog’s teeth and gums.
2. When your pooch seems comfortable being touched this way, put a little bit of dog-formulated toothpaste or a paste of baking soda and water on her lips to get her used to the taste.
3. Finally, apply the toothpaste to her teeth for a gentle brushing. You can become adept at brushing and it will go quickly.
4. Be patient. Some dogs take to brushing readily while others are fussier.
Even daily brushing isn’t enough to keep all dental issues away. Make sure to do the following as well:
Examine your dog’s teeth weekly
Once a week, with your dog facing you, lift your dog’s lips and examine his gums and teeth. The gums should be pink, not white or red, and should show no signs of swelling. His teeth should be clean, without any brownish tartar.
The following are signs that your dog may have a problem in his mouth and should be checked by a veterinarian:
Bad breath, excessive drooling, inflame gums, loose teeth or bumps on your pups’ tongue.
Make sure your vet check’s your dog’s teeth to see if it is time for a full dental cleaning:
Just like we do, your dog will need a thorough dental cleaning. This usually involves cleaning your dog’s teeth with a scaler and checking the gums for periodontal “pockets” (areas where the gums have pulled away from the teeth). Generally dental cleanings are performed while pets are under general anesthesia which is typically very safe and necessary to get a proper cleaning done.
Special diet for healthy teeth
You can also ask your vet about specially formulated dog food that can slow down the formation of plaque and tartar. Also, avoid feeding your dog table scraps, instead giving him treats that are specially formulated to keep canine teeth healthy.
Offer Appropriate Chew Treats
Some treats are designed to help keep your dog’s teeth cleaner. Look for products that carry the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal. While products without the VOHC seal may work, you can be confident that products that have earned the seal are truly effective.
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