When it comes to the health and happiness of your furry friend, we know you want nothing but the best. You’re already familiar with walks, playtime, and healthy meals, but have you ever thought about your pup’s dental health? If you’re scratching your head right now, that’s okay! This topic is something many pet parents overlook.
In this blog, we’ll dive tail-first into the world of doggy dental care. You’ll learn the whys and hows of brushing your dog’s teeth, and we promise – it’s not as daunting as it sounds! Dental health in dogs is just as important as it is for people, and a good dental routine can save your pet from future discomfort and health problems. Let’s fetch some knowledge, shall we?
Why Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth Matters
Just like us, our four-legged companions can suffer from dental problems. They’re not immune to the effects of tartar, plaque, gum disease, and even tooth loss. In fact, research shows that by age three, most dogs start to show signs of periodontal disease. Now, you may be thinking, “But my dog’s breath doesn’t stink, so his teeth must be fine, right?” Not quite. It’s more than just about keeping your pooch’s breath fresh; it’s about their overall health.
Unattended dental issues can result in discomfort, difficulty eating, and irritability. But the concerns don’t stop at the mouth. Poor dental health can lead to more severe conditions like heart, liver, and kidney diseases. That’s because the bacteria from dental disease can enter your dog’s bloodstream and cause havoc in these organs.
Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly can significantly reduce these risks. It removes the plaque before it hardens into tartar and helps keep your dog’s gums healthy. Regular brushing also allows you to spot any potential problems early.
How Often Should You Brush Your Dog’s Teeth?
Just as people need daily dental care to prevent decay and gum disease, our dogs benefit from the same consistent attention. Daily brushing helps remove plaque before it can harden into tartar, which is much more challenging to remove. Plus, a regular brushing routine can help your dog get used to the process, making it a smoother experience for both of you.
However, we understand that daily brushing might not fit into everyone’s busy schedules. If you find it difficult, aim for at least three times a week. Consistency is key, so try to find a routine that works best for you and your dog. Remember, even if you can’t brush daily, some tooth brushing is always better than none.
How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Even for dogs, there’s a right way and a wrong way to brush teeth. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:
- Pick the Right Tools: Use a toothbrush designed specifically for dogs. These brushes are generally softer and shaped differently to better fit in a dog’s mouth. As for the toothpaste, never use human toothpaste as it can upset your dog’s stomach. Look for dog-friendly toothpaste, which comes in flavors like poultry or beef that dogs typically find appetizing.
- Make Your Dog Comfortable: Start by ensuring your dog is relaxed. Try this at a time when your dog is naturally calm, maybe after a good play session or walk. You can sit on the floor with them or have smaller dogs on your lap.
- Introduce the Brush and Toothpaste: Let your dog get familiar with the toothbrush and toothpaste. Allow them to sniff and lick the toothpaste off the brush. This practice can help your pet get used to the new texture and taste.
- Brush Gently: Lift your dog’s upper lip and gently brush their teeth in a circular motion. Make sure to brush both the outer and inner surfaces of the teeth, paying particular attention to the back molars, which can be a hotspot for plaque and tartar buildup.
- Keep it Short and Sweet: A brushing session doesn’t need to last more than a minute or so. And remember, it’s okay if you don’t brush every tooth each session, especially when starting a new routine. The goal is to make this a positive experience so your dog will tolerate it better each time.
- Reward Your Dog: Always end the session on a positive note. Give your dog a treat, their favorite toy, or lots of praise to help them associate tooth brushing with a positive experience.
Remember, patience is vital. The first few times might be challenging, but with consistency and time, your dog will get used to this new routine.
At Walk! ATX, our dedicated pet care specialists want to help your dog live a happy, healthy life. From doggy day care and pet-sitting to bathing and obedience training, our experienced professionals provide quality pet care you can trust. Call (512) 655-9557 today or complete our contact form to schedule a meet-and-greet appointment.