Should I brush my dog’s teeth?

April 13, 2012

Does the breath of your dog makes you gag? Given the dog’s inclination to eat feces and rotting carcasses of prey as well as eating spoiled food from the trash it is not surprising for these animals to have killer breath. However, it is also possible that the obnoxious smell emanating from the pet’s mouth is caused by decayed tooth and gum diseases. Just like humans, dogs too can have dental concerns. As the dog ages, teeth and gums become more prone to various teeth and gum diseases. Studies show that 85% of dogs 5 years and over in age are suffering from various dental diseases. These diseases could have been prevented if dog owners have ensured the dental hygiene of the pet. Unfortunately, dental care is often ignored by dog owners. Should you really brush your dog’s teeth?

Regular brushing is necessary to prolong the health of the dog’s teeth. This dental care becomes more important as the dog ages as during this time the teeth is more susceptible to tooth decay and the gums to periodontal diseases. Persistent bad breath, swollen and recessed gums and loose teeth are common in aging dogs. Brushing the dog’s teeth regularly will prevent dental disease-causing tartar and plaque build-up. With regular brushing costly visit to canine dentist will be avoided. But more importantly, keeping the dog’s dental hygiene will also prevent bacterial infections arising from untreated periodontal diseases. Dog owners have to be aware of the fact that these bacterial infections can migrate to the bloodstream affect vital organs like the heart, kidneys, liver and even the brain. So if you have not included tooth brushing in the grooming routine of the pet you need to start now before it becomes too late.

Your dog’s teeth must be cleaned at least twice a week, more often if possible. Introducing tooth brushing to an adult dog would be challenging. The dog will surely struggle especially if it is not accustomed to being touched. Tooth brushing should be introduced while the pet is still a puppy. However, with a lot of patience the dog will eventually accept the feel of the toothbrush on its mouth. The trick is to introduce tooth brushing to the dog slowly. Going straight to the dog with the toothbrush and forcibly opening the mouth would make the pet struggle even more. Brushing the pet’s teeth would be easier if you have the right equipments. A nubby surfaced rubber cap that is fitted on a finger is ideal for dogs that are not used to tooth brushing as the pet would be more tolerant of the “invasion” of the master’s hand. Once the dog is used to being brushed; you can introduce the handled doggie toothbrush. A child’s toothbrush can be used as well. The soft bristles would be kinder to the gums of the dog. This kind would be more ideal in reaching the back teeth of the dog. Human toothpaste must never be used on the pet. Because dogs cannot spit, the toothpaste will be swallowed. Human toothpaste can have ingredients that are harmful to the dog. As mentioned, dogs that are not accustomed to dental cleaning would struggle. You can take advantage of the fact that dogs are food motivated. Place a small amount of chicken or beef flavored toothpaste on the toothbrush and allow the dog to taste. The flavored toothpaste will serve as bait that will make the dog open the mouth willingly. Brush the dog’s teeth just like you would brush your teeth. Don’t forget to clean the dog’s back teeth as these would have more tartar and plaque build-up. Dog owners concerned with the dental health of the dog would not only make sure that tooth brushing is done regularly but would also take the dog to a canine dentist at least once a year.

Discussion

comments