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Dog Dental Hygiene

This month's PETINFOZONE is about the importance of keeping your dogs mouth healthy. Here are some tips on brushing their teeth and dental care.

Dog Dental Hygiene

The Benefits of Dental Cleaning for your Dog

When your dog pants in your face, do you turn your head in disgust at his bad breath? If you’re like a lot of dog “parents” you do. Of course, if you think about it, it’s hardly surprising. What would your breath smell like if you didn’t brush your teeth regularly?

Not so good, right?

It’s no different with your dog. Max needs regular dental cleaning too.

In fact, did you know that the mouth offers a view of your (or your dog’s) overall health?

If your dog has a mouth filled with red, swollen gums, that can be a symptom of gingivitis or gum disease. It starts with plaque buildup and turns to tarter. Tarter is that nasty brown color at the base of your dog’s teeth.

Left untreated, dental problems can lead to lost teeth, abscesses, and of course, bad breath.

Plus, dental problems are painful and can lead to expensive surgery to treat them. Wouldn’t it be better to be proactive and take care of your pet’s teeth before they reach a critical juncture?

A Pet Lover’s Guide to Dental Care

Maintaining your pet’s oral health in between deep cleanings is similar to your own dental care maintenance.

You probably brush your teeth 2-3 times a day. Floss and maybe use mouthwash. You can brush your dog’s teeth if not daily, at least a few times a week.

You may have seen the special pet toothbrushes and toothpaste. You can also get different dental chews for your dogs to help remove tartar. Every bit helps.

You might wonder which of those toothbrushes is best for your dog? It depends on a few factors including the size of your pet and how comfortable you feel putting your fingers in their mouths to brush.

You’ve probably seen those “finger brushes” where you slip the brush over your finger and then work it into your pet’s mouth. Those can work well, especially for smaller mouths.

The special pet toothpaste is important for two reasons.

1) It’s flavored with beef/chicken or other tasty flavors which means your pet is more likely to let you put it in his or her mouth.

2) Because your dog is going to swallow it and regular people toothpaste isn’t meant to be eaten. Human toothpaste can give your pet a tummy ache.

How to Get Started

Now that you’ve gathered your special toothpaste and toothbrush, you’ll want to choose a good time to introduce them to your dog. Preferably when he’s relaxed after a long run or walk.

Day 1: You want your dog to let you touch his teeth. You can try putting the toothbrush in his mouth and sliding back and forth. Don’t even worry about the toothpaste at first. Just get your dog used to the feeling.

Day 2: Continue the same.

Day 3: If your dog is letting you “brush” his teeth, you can add a little toothpaste.

You may not be able to do his whole mouth at once. That’s ok. You’re working up to this.

If it’s been awhile since your dog’s teeth were professionally cleaned, please make a vet appointment for a deep clean. This is especially important for dogs with red, swollen gums or serious discoloration. Those are indicators of potentially serious health issues. And if your dog’s teeth look healthy but it’s been awhile? It’s still a good idea to get them professionally cleaned.

Many dogs also enjoy dental chews. These are great in between brushings to help remove ugly tartar build up.

Now that you know the importance of a clean mouth for your dog, do you need doggie dental products?


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