Thursday, June 16, 2011

In-home Teeth Care for your dog

Cleaning your dog’s teeth is a simple task that takes less than a minute to do. 
Massage: If your dog is not use to you touching his muzzle, you may have to work your way up to teeth cleaning.  Start with regular petting and gentle massages on his muzzle. 
Broth: Then, a great way to start this new habit of teeth cleaning is with a little bit of broth.  Get a bowl of chicken or beef broth and dip your finger into it.  Your dog will be a little more welcoming of a yummy finger in their mouth.  Gently massage the gum line with your finger.
You may have to do this for a week or longer before your dog is comfortable with your finger in his mouth. And there is the possibility that your dog will never be ok with your finger in his mouth.  The steps you take next are up to you and what you feel safe doing.  If in-home teeth cleaning will not work with your dog, seek professional help from your veterinarian.
Brushing your dogs teeth
Tools: You have a plethora of options when it comes to products to clean your dog’s teeth. From toothbrushes to teeth wipes, you can pick and choose what technique works best for you. 
Riverside resident, Jennifer Anderson, has a Yorkie and a Toy Poodle, Coco and Channel.  She shares her experience with various tooth brushes on the market.  “The first brush I got was the one with three sides of bristles, so it could clean the front, back, and bottom of the teeth at the same time.  My dogs hated it, so I tried teeth wipes for a while.  The dogs hated those too and I didn’t feel like the wipes were doing anything.  Now I’m using the little rubber brush that goes on your finger.  The dogs still hate it but I like it better because it does the job and it’s a soft rubber so I don’t worry about hurting them on accident while brushing.”

As Jennifer experienced, there are a lot of choices on the market.  Traditionally, people will buy a tooth brush.  Whether it is three-sided or one-sided, the outcome is the same.  If you have a smaller dog, keep the size of their jaw and teeth in mind when finding a brush.
Next you need dog toothpaste (pet toothpaste).  Human toothpaste contains fluoride in it, which is toxic if too much is swallowed (for humans and dogs).  Because dogs cannot spit out toothpaste after brushing, their toothpaste contains natural preservatives that help break down sugar and are completely digestible.  Human toothpaste is usually a mint flavor that foams and freshen breath leaving your mouth with a clean, minty tingle.  Dog toothpaste is usually beef or poultry flavored (to make it more enticing to dogs) and it doesn’t foam or give the dog minty breath because it is designed to keep the teeth free of tartar and control gum disease.  Because tartar build-up leads to gingivitis, which causes bad breath in dogs, the toothpaste gets rid of bad breath by keeping the teeth tartar free.  
Brushing: Put a small amount of toothpaste on your brush, lift up your dogs lip and brush all their teeth.  Although some vets may tell you to brush in circular motions, anyone who has tried to brush a dog’s teeth knows that it’s difficult enough to brush back and forth, let alone in circular motions.  Do what you can.  Brush all of your dog’s teeth, but most importantly, get the back teeth which they use most often to break down their food. It’s ok if they lick the toothpaste, and there is no need to rinse or wipe the toothpaste off.  Do a quick brush and reward your dog as soon as you’re done to make it a positive experience. 
If your dog doesn’t respond well to the toothbrush and toothpaste you can try using teeth wipes or a wet cloth. Simply wipe and loosen the food particles (and plaque) from their teeth before it hardens. Their saliva will do the rest.
After Brushing
There are plenty of other options to help improve your dog’s dental hygiene between brushes and teeth cleanings.  There are water additive you can put in your dogs water bowl to help control plaque and tartar. Dental Bones (from nylon bone toys, to rope toys, to Greenies) are great for teeth cleaning as well.  Bones, especially rawhides, give the dog something hard to continually chew that will naturally break-up tartar as they chew.  So be sure to give your dog one of these beneficial treats regularly.       

1 comment:

  1. Great post and tips..Just like humans, pets’ teeth need looking after too! The health of their teeth and gums has a significant impact on their overall quality of life. Imagine how your mouth would feel (and smell!) if you never brushed your teeth.

    dog dental