Like humans, dogs are prone to gum disease and tartar buildup that can lead to life threatening health problems, like heart and liver disease. The best way to stay on top of your dog’s dental health is by brushing his teeth regularly, and taking him to routine veterinary dental cleanings.
As to be expected, your dog is not going to sit still with his mouth open, as you poke around in his mouth, trying to clean his teeth. In fact, most dogs hate having their teeth brushed. This hassle can make it easy to avoid brushing your dog’s teeth.
Fortunately, there are some strategies you can use to effectively brush your pup’s teeth between dental check-ups. You don’t need to brush your dog’s teeth daily, but the more often you can, the better.
Before diving into the brass tacks on brushing your dog’s teeth, you will need to find the proper toothbrush. The best canine toothbrushes are a double-headed toothbrush, where you can brush at a 45 degree angle to get below the gumline.
Human toothpaste is toxic to pets and can make your dog incredibly sick. So, you’ll want to find a toothpaste that is made for dogs. You can find varieties made in pet-friendly flavors, like chicken or peanut butter. This can make it a lot easier to get your dog to sit still during the brushing session.
Like trimming your dog’s nails, your dog can also be trained to have their teeth brushed. You’ll want to introduce toothbrushing to your dog, after he has had a lot of exercise and feels good and worn out.
This will make him more likely to relax, while you scrub his teeth. Similar to brushing a human’s teeth, you should make small circular motions, and focus on the outside of the teeth. Don’t worry about brushing your pet’s tongue, as this will most likely aggravate him, or set off his gag reflex.
When it comes to brushing your dog’s teeth for the first time, it’s important that you don’t overdo it. Start out by brushing slowly and softly. If your dog becomes aggressive or panicky, you should stop immediately, even if you are unable to finish brushing.
Try and increase the amount of time spent brushing each time you go to do it. Like other dog training techniques, speak in a soothing voice during the brushing, and reward the dog with a treat afterwards. Eventually, your dog will associate the event with treats and look forward to having his teeth brushed!
Beyond wearing your dog out, there are some other techniques you can use to keep your dog’s teeth healthy.
Pets should have their teeth brushed regularly, before they reach adulthood. In fact, 80% of all pets have gum disease by the age of 3. The best way to evade dental problems is by starting healthy habits young. Not to mention, dog training works best as a puppy. One way to instill good behavior during teeth brushings and other routines is by starting them out as a puppy.
Dry dog food can keep your pet’s teeth cleaner than soft dog food, since soft dog food is more likely to get stuck in between the teeth and gums, causing infections. Making small choices like feeding your pet dry dog food can improve their dental health.
Another way to improve your dog’s dental hygiene at home without brushing their teeth is by giving them chew toys and bones that are meant to help their gum health. However, you should make sure that the objects are pet friendly. Hard objects can break your pet’s teeth.
It’s important to note that even if you give your dog dental chews, you will still need to take your dog to the vet for deep dental cleanings and try to brush their teeth occasionally.
Groomers can be a great addition to your dog’s dental health routine. However, you shouldn’t allow your groomers to be the only dental cleaning your dog receives. You will still need to provide the occasional brushing at home, and take him for routine dental care at the vet.
Even if your dog has healthy teeth, you should schedule appointment for a professional dental checkup every 6 months. Most vets include dental exams during their normal checkups, but you might need to ask for more extensive cleanings. With proper maintenance, you can preserve your dog’s dental health and overall health, while avoiding costly dental visits down the road.
Want to learn more about dental services at Veterinary Medical Clinic in Alamogordo? Call us today at 575-567-3500.