Steps to Keeping Your Dog’s Teeth Clean
We brush our teeth twice a day. We floss and visit the dentist to take care of our teeth. But what about our dogs? How can we help them maintain strong oral hygiene? Part of the care you give to your "best friend" should include oral care. Start by brushing your dog's teeth and by looking for signs of oral maladies.
Things to Check ForIt’s important that you take the time to inspect your dog’s mouth (once a week is recommended) for any signs of disease. Here are some things to check for:
- Gums should be pink (not white or red)
- Gums should show no signs of swelling or bleeding
- Teeth should be clean (no tarter build-up)
- Breath should not be excessively bad (abnormal or extreme)
- Excessive drooling should not be present
- Cysts should not be apparent (check under the tongue)
- Teeth should be firmly in place (not loose)
How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
It’s best if you start brushing your dog’s teeth when he or she is a puppy. This way they become accustomed to having their teeth brushed. And even though the old adage says, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” it is still recommended that you start brushing your dog’s teeth, no matter what age he or she is. Here are some more tips for brushing your dog’s teeth:
- Invest in a canine tooth-brushing kit, or wrap gauze around your finger and use toothpaste that is specially formulated for canine use.
- Put the paste on your dog's lips so he or she becomes comfortable with the taste.
- Apply the paste to your dog’s teeth with your finger.
- Begin to brush.
- Brush in small circular and downward motions, focusing on the areas that touch the cheeks (where most plaque build-up occurs).
- Lift your dog’s lips as necessary while brushing.
- Repeat brushing three times a week to avoid plaque build-up.
What Am I Protecting My Dog From When I Brush?
- Periodontal disease
- Swollen/infected gums – Can lead to other bacterial infections
- Proliferating gum disease
- Salivary cysts
Other problems can be the result of improper oral maintenance, such as loss of appetite, vomiting, indigestion, excess urinating, uncontrollable thirst, and bacterial infection.
Outside of brushing, maintaining a healthy diet and allowing them plenty of chew toys will ensure that your pup keeps that healthy smile. Plus, the next time you get some puppy love, those kisses will be that much sweeter.
Contact our professional groomer at Brimley-Lawrence Animal Clinic for more pet teeth-brushing pro tips.