How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth (And Why You Should Make It a Priority!)
A report by the American Pet Products Association concluded that 68% of American households keep pets. Cats and dogs are the most popular pets, with the number of pet dogs totaling 90 million. If you love your dog, his health is a priority. But, how often do you think about your dog’s dental health? Cleaning your dog’s teeth should be part of their regular hygiene maintenance routine. Yet, dog owners hardly consider this crucial activity. In honor of National Pet Dental Health Month, we have wrote tips on how to brush your dog’s teeth and why it’s essential.
How To Brush Your Dog’s Teeth:
1. Get the Right Toothbrush and Toothpaste
A canine toothbrush is almost similar to what we use. However, it has softer bristles, and it is smaller. If you don’t get a dog’s toothbrush in your local store, an infant’s toothbrush can suffice.
You can also use a finger toothbrush to ensure that you clean all the seemingly hard-to-reach points. Other than the toothbrushes, a clean washcloth or gauze can do the magic. A gauze is particularly a better option if your dog has sensitive gums or teeth.
On matters of toothpaste, you need to have a pet-friendly toothpaste that’s safe to swallow. Doggy toothpaste comes in a variety of flavors, from chicken to vanilla mint. With time you’ll know the flavor your pet prefers.
You’re now on the right track. You can even include your doggy’s brushing in one of your dog Instagram captions. You never know the number of people you’ll educate on dog brushing.
2. Orient Your Dog to Teeth Brushing
If you are expecting Fido to open his mouth wide on the first teeth brushing attempt, the joke is on you! Just like in children, you’ve got to introduce teeth brushing in dogs systematically. Attempt to clean your dog’s teeth when they are in their most calm state.
Start by putting a pea-sized toothpaste on your finger and let doggy taste. If your dog likes it, you’re probably in for a smooth ride. It will be easier to introduce the toothbrush at that point.
The gradual introduction of tooth brushing ought to start when a dog is still a puppy. It reduces the chances of rebelling. But if you want to start when your dog has already matured, it’s still possible to get the dog to enjoy tooth brushing.
While at it, consider an appropriate routine for brushing your dog’s teeth. You can choose to do it every day after dinner or breakfast. Over time, your dog will be familiar with the process.
3. Open Doggy’s Mouth
Before you can open your dog’s mouth, it would be advisable to have your dog get used to the idea of your finger in the mouth. You can do this process a couple of times to make your dog comfortable with the whole idea.
As positive reinforcement, have treats on your hand so that your dog can open his mouth with no resistance. You can start by having him open his mouth for a few seconds and work towards increasing it gradually.
It won’t come as a surprise if your dog resists, but that shouldn’t mark the end of teeth cleaning. Just hold the dog’s muzzle until he relaxes. However, it would be wise to revisit the familiarization process to make your dog more comfortable.
4. Brush the Teeth Gently
Use gentle and circular motions when brushing a dog’s teeth. Try as much as possible to reach the back molars and canines as they are highly prone to plaque build-up. With at least a minute or two, you’ll have brushed off the plaque.
Don’t worry if your dog resists brushing the inside part of the teeth. Their tongues always clean any debris in those areas. As a rule of thumb, start slowly and increase the thoroughness with time.
5. Reward Your Dog
If you check out some of the interesting facts about dogs, wagging a tail is one of those aspects you can’t miss. It’s usually a sign of happiness. After a brushing session, positive reinforcement will make your dog wag his tail in excitement as they look forward to the next session.
Importance of Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
The prevalence of periodontal diseases in dogs is at 80% in the US, with the majority of dogs being less than two years old. Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly is one of the most effective preventive measures against this disease. With constant brushing, you’ll deal with the plaque build-up that ultimately leads to periodontal disease.
When you get home, the last thing you want is dealing with doggy’s halitosis as they welcome you back. Bad breath is one of the major signs of poor dental hygiene. With teeth brushing, the odor from your dog’s mouth will be no more.
Once you know how to brush your dog’s teeth, you will be in a great position to save their internal organs. Bacteria from oral diseases can get absorbed in the dog’s bloodstream, leading to liver, kidney, and heart damage. Regular brushing of your dog’s teeth will prevent dental infections, which ultimately spread to the other parts of the body.
When You Know How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth, You’ll Enjoy the Process
If you love your pet, brushing his teeth should be a priority. Learn how to brush your dog’s teeth and get him to like it while he is still young. You will save his canine from several oral diseases, including periodontal.
Your vet can guide you when getting a toothbrush and toothpaste for your dog. When you follow the right procedure, brushing your dog teeth will feel relaxed. It might be complex at first, but with time, you’ll get the drill.
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