Do I need to brush my dog’s teeth?

April 13, 2012

You brush your teeth, you floss and you regularly use a mouthwash. All these rituals are done not only to ensure that periodontal diseases will be prevented but also to make sure that people (and especially the girl you are eyeing) will not be turned off by a less than pleasant breath. You kiss your dog. You also allow your dog to give you sloppy kisses. Why then should you not brush your dog’s teeth? Statistics have shown that only 2% of dog owners take the time to brush the pet’s teeth. Do you belong to the majority of dog owners that neglect the oral health of the pet?

Periodontal disease is one of the most common health concerns of dogs. Dogs suffer from tartar, cavities and gum problems too. A variety of dental diseases affects almost all dogs. Unfortunately, if a dog owner would rush to the vet’s because the pet is suffering from allergies that would cause excessive hair fall, the periodontal concerns of the dog is often ignored. These periodontal diseases are less common in dogs that lived in the wild. Apparently, these health concerns are avoided by the dog’s habit gnawing the bones of the prey. Modern day dogs don’t have the opportunity to hunt much less to “play” with the bones of the prey. Modern day dogs are regularly provided with less interesting commercial diet thus brushing the dog’s teeth must be a part of the pet’s grooming routine.

Dog owners enjoy grooming the coat of the pet. A dog owner would be seen taking hours to brush the hair of the pet but few minutes needed to brush the dog’s teeth is considered too much trouble. Brushing the teeth of the pet would be a challenging chore especially if the dog is not comfortable with being touched. Cleaning the dog’s teeth is best started while the dog is still a puppy. A dog that is accustomed to being handled and to familiar the feel of the brush against the teeth and gums would be less resistant. The dog would not only appreciate the attention given by the master but would also enjoy the taste of the pet toothpaste.

So how would you go about brushing the teeth of the pet? The trick is to make tooth brushing a pleasant experience for the dog. You don’t have to use a toothbrush for the first session. Apart from being affectionate, dogs are social animals thus the pet is expected to appreciate the attention given by the human friend. Accustom the dog to being touched. Pet the dog. Stroke the dog’s cheek with your fingers. Allow the dog to lick a dab of toothpaste from your finger. Remember to use doggie toothpaste. The dog is expected not to spit the toothpaste and human toothpaste can be harmful when ingested by the pet. Moreover, doggie toothpaste comes in flavors that will be enjoyed by the dog. Next is to introduce the toothbrush. You can use a soft bristled doggie toothbrush or a finger brush. The finger brush is a rubber hood that has bristles on one side. This rubber cap that is fitted to the finger is used by dog owners during the first tooth brushing sessions. The dog would not bite the brush because the pet would know that it is your finger that is poking its mouth. Thirty seconds is all it takes to brush the dog’s teeth. Thirty seconds is all that is necessary to ensure the dental health of your dog. Remember, a toothless pet is not a happy pet thus take time to brush the teeth of your four legged companion.

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