A very important and yet often overlooked part of pet care is tending to your four-legged companion’s teeth. Proper canine dental care can not only help cure your dog’s bad breath, but it can also help prevent the development of more serious and potentially life-threatening conditions. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can just toss him a biscuit or some crunchy kibble. Think about it – would you brush your own teeth with a cracker?
Brushing your dog’s teeth is a relatively easy task and is something that your pet may even come to enjoy. If you’re not sure how to do it, just try following these easy steps:
A Step-by-Step Guide to Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
Get the right tools for the job. Before you go to brush your dog’s teeth, you’re going to want to have the right tools on hand. There are a couple of different options for this. If you want to go with the quick and easy natural method, you can make a baking soda paste with a little water, and use a soft cloth to wipe it on and off of your dog’s teeth. Personally, I prefer brushing my Boston Terrier’s teeth with a specially made dog toothbrush and some liver-flavored toothpaste (yum!) – There’s chicken flavored too, but I have no intention of taste-testing, so I can’t tell you if it really does taste like chicken. Don’t use regular toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth – you might think that cinnamon or minty fresh breath would be a great idea, but your dog won’t appreciate the smell and it could potentially poison your pet.
Hold your dog in a comfortable but secure position. When you first begin brushing your dog’s teeth, chances are that he’s going to put up a bit of a fuss, so it’s best to perform this task on the floor or another safe and secure environment where there is no risk that he will slip, fall or hurt himself. If you have a large breed dog, it’s usually a good idea to have him sit in front of your legs so you can stop him from backing away from you. With Rube, I sit on the bed and hold him in my lap.
Go Slow. Apply a small amount of the paste to your brush or cloth and then use your off hand to expose your dog’s teeth. Be careful to take your time and be patient; dogs don’t generally enjoy having people mess around with their mouths, so if he’s not ready to do the brushing today, don’t be afraid to gradually work him up to it.
Be gentle and work in slow circular motions. Brushing your dog’s teeth is not unlike brushing our own teeth; you want to gently massage the gums, remove the plaque from the outside of the tooth and be sure to clean the teeth thoroughly.
Keep it Positive. Offer your dog lots of praise and positive reinforcement, turning it into a good experience as opposed to a frightening one. While not all dogs enjoy having their teeth brushed, making it a positive experience can help to make it less of a struggle for the both of you.
Brushing your dog’s teeth can grow into an enjoyable bonding time and can help to lessen health risks, extending his lifespan. By brushing your dog’s teeth at least every other day, you can cut down on the risks of gum disease, pain, tooth loss and even bad breath. Additionally, by brushing your pet’s teeth, you can help prevent the risks of oral disease which can lead to heart, liver and kidney problems. Remember – healthy teeth help make healthy pets, so brush-brush-brush your way to a happier and healthier hound dog!
Personal experience as a long-time pet owner and breeder