Brushing a dog's teeth is an essential but frequently overlooked part of caring for a dog. A dog's oral hygiene is crucial to maintaining its overall health. Yet, even the most dedicated pet owners tend to forget that dogs need regular brushing and cleaning to keep their pearly whites shiny and bright.
Why Brush Your Dog’s Teeth?
You might be thinking, ‘Do I need to brush my dogs teeth?’ The answer is yes, absolutely. Dogs may have some resistance to tooth decay, but there are still plenty of reasons for brushing dogs teeth, like:
· Combat bad breath
Bad breath in dogs is common and most often caused by bad dental hygiene (although lungs and gastrointestinal issues can also play a role). Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth helps get rid of bad breath by removing plaque and tartar and killing the bacteria that are the primary cause of bad breath.
· Remove plaque
Dental plaque is a soft, sticky film of food and bacteria formed on the teeth shortly after eating. It hardens to form tartar or calculus but can be removed pretty easily in its soft stage. The physical act of brushing plays a significant role in removing plaque from your dog's teeth.
· Fight tartar build up
Calcified plaque is known as tartar. It is a yellow-brown hard material that can serve as a base for bacterial growth and is severely damaging to your dog’s teeth and gum line due to this. Since brushing your dog’s teeth removes most of the plaque, it also helps combat tartar build up.
· Prevent tooth decay
Dog saliva may be better at killing oral bacteria than ours, but they can still get tooth decay. So even if the condition is rare and represents only 10% of all dog dental problems, it’s still your duty as the pet owner to brush your dog’s teeth properly to prevent it.
· Ward off periodontal disease
Inflammation of the gums, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone is known as periodontal disease. It is very common in dogs and is estimated to affect more than two-thirds of dogs above the age of three, but regular brushing and good dental hygiene can go a long way in preventing this painful condition.
· Check for gum disease
Brushing your dog’s teeth gives you the perfect opportunity to evaluate your dog's gum health and check for signs of gum disease like bleeding, redness, loose teeth, bumps, and bad breath. This allows for early diagnosis and treatment in case of a gum problem, something which can potentially save your dog’s life.
· Thoroughly inspect tooth
Brushing your dog’s teeth is also the prime time to check for cavities, fractures, dental abscesses, etc. Be sure to pay close attention and thoroughly inspect all of your dog’s teeth for orthodontic problems before brushing. Consult a vet if you find anything unusual.
· Prevent chronic infections
Not brushing is bad for both your dog's oral and general health. Neglecting to take care of your dog's teeth can result in oral and periodontal diseases, which release toxins into the bloodstream that damage vital organs like the heart, liver, and kidneys. Regular brushing is the most effective way to prevent this.
Preparation for Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
To prepare for brushing dogs teeth, you need to first buy a specifically designed dog toothbrush and toothpaste. To select the best dog toothbrush, look for one that is VOHC-approved, soft bristled, angled, and has a long handle in the case of a larger dog.
For the best dog toothpaste, opt for something VOHC-approved with enzymatic activity and attractive flavors. Click Here to urge a broad range of cleanning gears for your dogs!
Steps to Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
Here’s how to brush dogs teeth the right way without spooking them:
1. Pick a time
You don’t want your dog agitated when you’re trying to brush its teeth, so choose a time when it’s just you and your dog. And as most dogs' energy levels vary throughout the day, it might be a good idea to pick a time when your dog is naturally relaxed and calm.
2. Ready the appropriate tools.
Have your tools like a dog toothbrush and toothpaste ready and on hand. You should thoroughly rinse the toothbrush before and after use and employ a soft cloth to clean up your dog's lips after brushing. If you want to, you can also wear gloves at this point.
3. Choose a spot
Choose a comfortable, well-lit spot for brushing and approach your dog in a non-threatening manner. Kneel in front of or to the side of your dog, or hold it in your lap if it’s small enough. If you’re not comfortable kneeling, sit on a chair and get your dog to sit beside you.
4. Touch your dog’s teeth and gums
Start by getting your dog used to its teeth and gums being touched. To do this, pull the lips back and run a finger or soft cloth along your dog’s teeth and gums. Stick to the outside surfaces of the teeth and use very light pressure and a back-and-forth motion. Move on to the next step once your dog is comfortable with this.
5. Let your dog taste the toothpaste
Let your dog lick some toothpaste off your finger to become familiar with its taste and texture before using it to brush its teeth. Try a couple of different flavors to see what your dog likes best and perhaps find something your dog views as a treat.
6. Introduce the toothbrush
Now introduce the dog toothbrush into your dog's mouth and use it to gently touch the front, sides, and back of the teeth. Angle the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, so the bristles reach the gum line and move in a massaging motion.
7. Brush with toothpaste
Add the dog toothpaste to the brush and hold back the upper lip to brush the front teeth in small circles before moving to the sides and back. Similarly, brush the bottom teeth and move to the insides if your dog seems comfortable with it. Brush for about 2 minutes and avoid brushing aggressively.
8. Praise and reward
Brushing is an unnatural experience for dogs, so be sure to praise and treat your dog at every step. Pat and talk to your dog while you brush to keep it relaxed, and give it its favorite treat and some extra attention when you're done to get it to view brushing as a positive and fun experience.
What Can I Use to Brush My Dog's Teeth?
The best option for brushing your dog’s teeth is to use a dog specific toothbrush with dog toothpaste, but you can also use a soft kiddie toothbrush or finger brush.
It is also possible to make dog safe toothpaste at home by mixing 1/4 cup coconut oil, 3 tablespoons baking soda, ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, and ½ teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl. Add herbs, beef, chicken, or vegetable bouillon to flavor.
How Often Should I Brush My Dog’s Teeth?
While brushing twice daily is ideal, brushing this frequently is generally hard for both the dog and the dog owner. Therefore, it is recommended to brush your dog's teeth a minimum of two or three times a week and further supplement with dental chews and wipes to prevent dental disease and maintain oral hygiene.
How Do You Brush a Dog's Teeth for the First Time?
An important step in learning how to brush dogs teeth for the first time is to be able to employ the most effective tips and tricks. Some tricks to brushing dog’s teeth are:
- Dip your finger in peanut butter, meat baby food, or nonfat yogurt before trying to touch your dog's teeth and gums.
- When your dog is relaxed, place both hands on top of its jaws to get it used to it.
- Stop instantly if you notice your dog is being anxious or stressed to prevent negative associations.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens if I Never Brush My Dog's Teeth?
When you don’t brush your dog’s teeth or take it to the vet for regular dental cleanings, the plaque built up after eating hardens and converts into calculus or tartar, a yellow-brown hard and porous material. The bacteria in this tartar then irritate and damage the gums, causing gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
Can I Brush My Dogs Teeth with Human Toothpaste?
No, you cannot. Dogs are physically incapable of spitting, which means whatever you use to brush their teeth will be ingested. And since human toothpaste frequently contains ingredients like Xylitol, Fluoride, and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which are toxic to dogs when consumed. So, brushing dogs teeth with human toothpaste is a big no.
How to Brush Dog Teeth when They Refuse?
For a dog that vehemently refuses to brush, you can start by gently massaging its lips and gums with your fingers when you pet it and slowly move on to massaging with wet gauze and wipes. Buying your dog poultry, peanut butter, and beef-flavored toothpaste can also help.
Brushing a dog's teeth is essential to maintaining dental health, but as an unnatural experience for them, it should be done in a controlled manner with the appropriate toothpaste and brush. You should also be very aware of your dog's comfort level and reward it frequently for its cooperation.
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