Did you know brushing your dog’s teeth is important not just for dental hygiene, but for overall health?
Molly’s miniature black schnauzer Buttercup was running around outside, chasing the little kids in the backyard and enjoying the summer day. With Buttercup’s never-ending energy and exuberant personality, no one at the party would have guessed Buttercup had a handful of teeth removed just a year prior.
“Oh my! What happened?”
“I didn’t know I was supposed to clean Buttercup’s teeth regularly,” Molly said, with a faint frown and sadness still lingering in her voice.
Unfortunately, this story is far too common. Dental hygiene for dogs is incredibly important. Just like humans, poor dental care in pets can lead to teeth removal, but more shockingly, neglected dental hygiene in dogs can result in serious health conditions, including kidney or liver disease.
If you don’t frequently brush your furry friend’s teeth and are not sure where to begin, don’t worry; it’s never too late to start. We’ll go over several tips below to help ease both you and your pup into stellar dental care.
Introduce Tooth Brushing Early
In this case, the earlier the better. It’s not impossible to get older dogs comfortable with the idea of you sticking your fingers in their mouth, but as with most things, it is better to get your four-legged friend used to it as a puppy.
Find the Perfect Time of Day
It is best to brush your dog’s teeth when she is most relaxed. Starting the process after she takes an afternoon walk, eats dinner, yet before she goes to bed for the night, can be a great time. She has recently expended a lot of energy, she’s happy after a meal and settling down before bed.
Purchase the Proper Supplies
Most importantly, do not use human toothpaste. Most toothpaste contains fluoride and other ingredients that can be toxic to your pet. Not to mention, the doggy flavors such as peanut butter or chicken will be a lot more enticing than your mint-flavored paste.
Also consider purchasing a special toothbrush just for dogs. They have angled bristles and fine fibers so you can more easily maneuver your pup’s mouth. Most local dog stores have them. If you’re having trouble finding one, a soft baby toothbrush will do.
Be sure to have a plethora of treats available. You want to make this a positive experience for your pooch. Always positively reinforce Princess’ participation with a treat, some extra attention or her favorite toy.
Ease Your Pup Into It
All dogs have different anxiety levels when it comes to maintaining dental hygiene. It is best to start by slowly easing your dog into it.
First, gently touch her teeth with just your fingers, so she knows you can be gentle and get accustomed to the feeling.
Next, try dabbing some toothpaste on the toothbrush so she can taste it.
Finally, start brushing her teeth. Move the brush in small circles up and down the tooth. For the first time, only brush a few teeth, so as not to overdo it. You want to leave that first experience on a good note. The next time, brush a few more teeth, then a few more.
Reward with Treats
While you are brushing, don’t forget to speak calmly to your pet so she knows you’re in control and everything is okay. Provide lots of attention and treats after a successful cleaning to keep the experience positive.
We’d love to hear from you! Do you have any special tips for cleaning your dog’s teeth? Leave a comment below and let us know special tips and tricks you’ve picked up along the way.