Like how much you need regular oral hygiene, your dog also needs to have a regular toothbrush and professional dental cleaning to ensure oral health.
Providing excellent oral hygiene for your pets makes them happy and healthy. Giving them such opportunities will increase their life span. According to Dr. Jim D. Carlson of Riverside Animal Clinic & Holistic Center, poor oral hygiene can result in a shorter life span of your pets.
Why is it Important to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth?
Brushing your dog’s teeth is such a daunting task. But you must be aware of why excellent dental health is vital for him.
- Carlson said that when your dog accumulates oral bacteria, it can cause other internal medical problems, such as heart disease. Not only that, but he will also be susceptible to a particular periodontal disease and bone problems.
- PetMD also mentioned how vulnerable dogs without regular brush to swollen and painful gums and tooth loss. Sadly, dogs and cats alike start to have periodontal disease at around two to three years of age.
That’s alarming, especially that poor dental health is a factor in a shortened life span. That said, you should give due time for you to master brushing your dog’s teeth very often. But, how “regular” tooth brushing does your pet need?
How Often Should You Brush Your Dogs Teeth?
Ideally, it would help if you brush your pet’s teeth daily. However, if you cannot do that due to lack of time, thrice a week is excellent to ensure proper oral health for your pets. Regardless, do it as often as possible. We also recommend that you bring your pets for professional dental care at least once a year.
How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth the Appropriate Way
The first thing you want to do is accustom your dog to brushing. Don’t brush your dog’s teeth right away without gradually introducing him to the process, because you’ll undoubtedly have a problem later. Think that brushing is a new activity for him, so acclimate him on a gradual basis. Below is a step-by-step guideline on how to properly brush your dog’s teeth as often as possible.
- Set a routine by considering the day and time you’ll have extra time to focus on your dog’s dental care. As mentioned, you can do it daily because it’s ideal. But if not, you can do it three times a week.
- Gauge your dog’s anxiety. Brush your dog’s teeth when he’s relaxed.
- Purchase a toothpaste specially made for dogs. Please don’t use human toothpaste, because it may contain a specific ingredient toxic for dogs. There is also pet toothpaste that has flavors, such as peanut butter and poultry. Important reminder, don’t use baking soda when brushing your dog’s teeth. As with the toothbrush, choose something with a longer handle. The bristles should also be soft and angled.
- Be in a friendly position. A friendly stance is very crucial in the brushing process. Don’t be in a threatening posture nor in a standing position as it can make your dog uncomfortable. Instead, you can try to kneel or sit down in front of or beside him. However, if he seems disturbed and upset, stop your attempt and try again later or on the following day.
- Massage the teeth and gums. When both of you are in a comfortable position, start massaging your dog’s teeth and gums in a gentle manner using your fingers. Massage through slow and circular motion. Doing the massage may take you a few weeks before your dog gets accustomed to the entire process of toothbrushing.
- Introduce the toothpaste. Again, do not use human toothpaste but a pet toothpaste. Start by putting a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on your fingertip and let your dog lick and taste it. This process will allow him to be accustomed to the taste, smell, and texture of his toothpaste. If he happens to refuse the toothpaste after a few days, then you may need to get a new flavored toothpaste that he will like.
- Use the toothbrush. Once your dog is already used to you touching his mouth, begin using his toothbrush. Start by lifting his upper lip to pave the way for the toothbrush. Make sure to angle the bristles so they can also reach the gum line.
- Make some small circular motions while brushing his teeth. Make sure to get on the top and bottom jaws on both sides. Also, be wary of slight bleeding because it’s normal. However, if it’s heavy bleeding and it goes on, you may need to be gentler with your brushing, or it can be a massive sign of gum disease. With that said, you must consult your veterinarian on how to treat it.
- Remove the plaque. If you’re starting with your dog’s toothbrush routine, you may brush a few teeth at a time then gradually increase the number of teeth as the day goes by. More so, allot two minutes of cleaning time for you to make sure that the plaque is removed every after toothbrushing.
- You have to remember that if you can’t get to the inner parts of the teeth, don’t stress yourself too much. That’s because your dog’s rough tongue can help clean that area of his mouth as often as he wants, without him knowing.
- Be reassuring. While you’re brushing your dog’s teeth, be consistent in giving him comforting words. Talk to him as if you’re updating him on what you’re doing on his mouth. Also, praise him for being such a good boy while brushing his teeth. Tap his and stroke his jowls signifying you’re satisfied with his compliance as you brush his teeth.
Are There Alternatives to Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth?
Well, yes, there are. Some dogs, especially those who are older, cannot tolerate toothbrushing. For dogs who cannot tolerate regular brushing, then you may purchase a food and water additive that contains cleaning compounds that can still ensure that your dog gets good oral health. There are also chew toys that you can try, depends on what your vet seems fitting for your dog.
In conclusion, don’t stop aiming to provide excellent dental health care for your dog. You’re not too late to brush your dog’s teeth. You can follow the guidelines mentioned above on how to do it. After all, he’s your best friend, and keeping him healthy is one of the ways that you can show your love for your ultimate best friend.
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