Brushing your Dogs Teeth
Dogs don’t get cavities the way humans do, but they do get plaque, tartar, and gingivitis all of which can cause foul breath and tooth problems. Brushing your dog’s teeth should not be a chore for you or your dog. Instead, it should be an enjoyable time for both of you. If you take things slowly at the beginning and give lots of praise, you and your dog will start looking forward to your brushing sessions.
Everything to know about Toothpaste and tooth brushing
There are many types of pet toothpaste on the market today. Don’t ever use human toothpaste! Human toothpaste contains fluoride, which in large quantities is poisonous to dogs. Pet toothpastes may contain several different active ingredients. Various veterinary dentists have recommended those toothpastes, gels, and rinses that contain chlorhexidine, hexametaphosphate, or zinc gluconate. For dogs with periodontal disease, fluoride treatments or toothpastes may be prescribed by your veterinarian. Doggie toothpaste, is flavored with malt, chicken, or some other yummy flavor that dogs can’t resist. It makes the experience a little more enjoyable.
The real benefit of tooth brushing comes from the mechanical action of the brush on the teeth. Various brushes, sponges and pads are available. Finger tooth brushes that do not have a handle, but fit over your finger, may be easier for some people to use. A finger toothbrush is best, You can use a human toothbrush, but it isn’t as good as a finger brush. The choice of what to use depends on the health of your dog’s gums, the size of your dog’s mouth, and your ability to clean the teeth.
Use toothbrushes designed specifically for pets – they are smaller, ultra-soft, and have a somewhat different shape. Pet toothbrushes are available through our company, your veterinarian, or some pet stores. For some dogs, starting out with dental sponges or pads may be helpful since they are more pliable. Dental sponges have a small sponge at the end of a handle, and are disposable. They are softer than brushes. Dental pads can help remove debris from the teeth and gums but do not provide the mechanical action that brushes do.
Introducing tooth brushing to your dog and Beginning the process
Number one, this should be fun for you and your dog. Be upbeat and take things slowly. Do not overly restrain your dog. Keep sessions short and positive. Be sure to praise your dog throughout the process. Give yourself a pat on the back, too! You are doing a great thing for your dog!
First, have your dog get used to the taste of the toothpaste. Get your dog used to the flavor and consistency of the toothpaste. Let your dog lick some off your finger. Praise your dog when he licks the paste and give a reward. If your dog does not like the taste of the toothpaste, you may need to try a different kind. Continue this step for a few days or until your dog looks forward to licking the paste.
The next step is to have your dog become comfortable with having something placed against his teeth and gums. Wet the edge of a clean washcloth so you can rub your dog’s gums and teeth; hold a corner of the wet portion of the washcloth with your index finger and use a gentle, circular motion. This is to Train your dog to allow you to touch her mouth. Apply a small amount of paste to your finger and gently rub it on one of the large canine teeth in the front of the mouth. These are the easiest teeth for you to get at and will give you some easier practice. Be sure to praise your dog and give a tasty treat or other special reward.
After your dog is used to the toothpaste, and having something applied to his teeth, get him used to the toothbrush or dental sponge you will be using routinely. We need to get your dog used to the consistency of these items, especially the bristles on a brush. If you gradually increase the amount of time you spend working on this four-step process, you’ll eventually build up enough time to give your dog’s teeth a thorough brushing So, let your dog lick the toothpaste off of the brush so he gets used to the texture. Again, praise your dog when he licks the paste and give a really great treat or other reward. Continue this step for about a week, making sure your dog readily licks the paste off of the brush.
Now your dog is used to the toothbrush and toothpaste and having something in his mouth. So the next step is to start brushing. Do not try to brush the entire mouth at first. Talk to your dog in a happy voice during the process and praise your dog at the end. Lift the upper lip gently and place the brush at a 45º angle to the gum line. Gently move the brush back and forth. Work from back to front, making small circles along the gum lines. At first, you may just want to brush one or both upper canine teeth. You do not need to brush the inside surface of the teeth (the side towards the tongue). If all that your pet lets you brush is the outside of the upper teeth, you are still addressing the most important area of periodontal disease – prevention. The movement of the tongue over the inside surfaces keeps them relatively free of plaque. Be sure to praise your dog, end on a good note and give a tasty treat or other great reward.
When your dog accepts having several teeth brushed, slowly increase the number of teeth you are brushing. Again, by making it appear to be a game, you both will have fun doing it. Even with the best tooth brushing, some dogs may still need an occasional professional cleaning, just like humans.
Certainly, the more often you brush the better. Always aim for daily dental care for your dog, just as you aim for daily dental care for yourself. By brushing your pet’s teeth daily and curtailing the amount of periodontal disease, you may reduce the frequency and involvement of dental cleanings and provide your pet with a healthier smile. The hardest thing about home dental care for dogs is just getting started. Once you have done it for a while, it just becomes part of your daily routine. If you cannot brush daily, brushing every other day or I f your dog won’t tolerate a full tooth brushing session, try doing the top teeth one day and the bottom teeth the next day this will help remove the plaque before it has time to mineralize. Good dental care and healthy teeth go a long way in keeping your dog happy and healthy.