Do you really need to brush a dog's teeth?

Caring for your dog's teeth is an essential part of the overall care of your pet. Preventing dental problems is far easier, and less painful, than trying to cure them. And brushing your dog's teeth is an integral part of this prevention.

A report by the American Veterinary Dental Society reveals that almost 80 percent of dogs are showing definite sign of dental disease by three years of age. Feeding a dog the wrong type of diet, and neglecting to brush a dog's teeth, will often lead to the formation of plaque.

Plaque is a serious threat to a dog's dental health. Brushing a dog's teeth can remove this browny/yellowish bacterial mix of rotting food and saliva. But, when left to fester the bacteria in plaque sets up a chemical reaction that can badly erode the tissue of the gums. This almost always leads to the loss of teeth.

Plaque is the foundation stone which when mineralised becomes tartar. When tartar is allowed to build up it forces back the gum margins, and becomes a serious threat to the roots of the teeth. Again, leading to the loss of teeth, and a great deal of pain along the way.

Food plays a big part in the process of tooth decay. It can also become a major asset in its prevention. Don't feed sloppy or mushy foods. Feed food that has some substance to it. Give your dog kibble/mixer with his dinner. Some hard biscuits that have a crunch factor. Give him a carrot.

Dog toys, from the nylon/rubber bone to the rawhide strips and chewies are all great for cleaning teeth. A dogs aggressive chewing of these toys scrapes plaque off, almost like dragging a squeegee across them.

Only give your dog toys that are reasonably flexible. Bones, and most rigid dog toys always carry the threat of fracturing teeth, and/or getting lodged in the gullet. Sugar based treats are -definitely out. Looks good--But will it taste good?

So on in to the valley of death.... How do you brush a dog's teeth?

  1. With patience, kindness, forethought, humour and treats.No human toothpastes--dogs hate the taste and the foam. One's that contain the antiseptic "chlorhexidine" are amongst the best.
  2. Toothbrushes? Not yours-get one that's made specifically for pet use.
  3. Getting her teeth brushed comes just above visiting the vet on the dog's pet hate list. Rehearsals are one of the easiest ways to get around this.
  4. Inspecting and handling her mouth should have begun straight from the dogs earliest days. Just begin by touching the face, nose and mouth, talk gently, lovingly. Don't push it--now give her a treat.
  5. Gradually prolong the process--using the command "Open"--open her mouth, run your finger along her teeth, give her a treat. Get her used to everything that is going to happen, but without the brush and toothpaste. Rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal.

Just loving it.

Dog loving having it's teeth brushed

Now on to the easy part...Your dog is extremely cunning, and the first stategy that will pop in to her head is to try to lick the toothpaste off of the brush. So, outwit her by pressing the toothpaste deeply in to the bristles. Keep talking gently and soothingly to her. When she appears relaxed, open her mouth and just brush a few teeth at the side. Stop, give her a treat.

Repeat later, this time brushing more teeth, until you can finally open her mouth and clean the insides and tops of the teeth. Give her a treat. Couldn't have been easier--could it?

If all else fails, oral gels are available that you rub a couple of drops daily on to the teeth and gums. But, it is far better not to succumb. Carry on even if you are only able to brush/rub toothpaste on to the outside of the teeth, as the mixture of your pet's tongue and saliva, will help to clean the inner gum and tooth surfaces to some degree.

Once you've persevered with this process, and your pet has bowed to the inevitable. Brushing your dog's teeth on a regular basis will become a source of great pleasure to you, and your dog. Coming only second to squeezing his anal sac?

Want to find out what are the Best Dog Toys?

Dog with wrong toy

Copyright© 2007-2008.