Practising good dog dental hygiene is important to maintain the overall physical health of your canine. Sadly, owners tend to overlook this aspect in taking care of their pets, unknowingly letting them suffer from various issues such as bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. When left uncured, dental problems in dogs often lead to fatal infections and issues such as kidney, liver, and heart diseases.
Here Is an Interesting Fun Fact
Full-grown dogs have a total of 42 teeth. Regardless of size, it is the same number for all dogs, which is the reason why smaller breeds with small snouts tend to suffer from tooth crowding. Their mouths are more prone to bacteria. The unfortunate part is that most dogs show signs of gum disease when they are between two and four years old.
Now that we have established the importance of maintaining the dental health of dogs, the question is, how should their teeth be cleaned and how often?
The Right Way to Clean a Dog’s Teeth
Just like in correcting bad behaviours such as stopping a dog from barking excessively, the best cure for dental issues is prevention. Although adult dogs can learn to be comfortable with teeth cleaning, it will be easier if you start when they’re still puppies. As soon as the puppy arrives, gradually introduce a dental regimen, making sure that the experience is always pleasant. However, wait until it is around six months old when its adult teeth have grown before using a toothbrush.
Steps to clean a dog’s teeth:
- You can begin by gently rubbing the puppy’s gums with your finger. Gently massage its gums whilst you’re snuggling it so it can get accustomed and comfortable with you touching the insides of its mouth.
- Gradually shift to a soft rubber finger brush similar to the ones for toddlers or gauze wrapped around your finger. Once its adult teeth have grown, use a special dog toothbrush with soft bristles.
- Use pet-safe toothpaste that comes in beef, chicken, malt, and other dog-friendly flavours. Never use human toothpaste as it can be toxic to dogs.
- Brush the teeth the right way so your efforts won’t be put to waste. Take note of the following:
- Lift the lip to reveal the outside surfaces of its gums and teeth.
- As you would when you brush your own teeth, brush with gentle motions to clean the teeth as well as the gums.
- Focus on the outside surfaces since most dogs are not comfortable having the inside surface of their teeth brushed. Forcing it might just traumatise the dog, making future brushing difficult.
- Reach the back upper molars and include fangs, which tend to quickly build up tartar.
- After brushing, give rewards in the form of praises, petting, play, or other fun activities to positively reinforce this dental process.
How Often Should You Clean Your Dog’s Teeth?
The ideal frequency of cleaning your dog’s teeth is every day especially if it is prone to periodontal disease or inflammation in the gums around the teeth. Small breeds are prone to develop this dental issue at a young age like chihuahuas, dachshunds, Pomeranians, schnauzers, and Yorkies, amongst others.
Not only is daily tooth cleaning good for your furry kid’s dental health but it will also help create a routine that it will be used to. It may seem hard especially when the practice of brushing your dog’s teeth hasn’t been established whilst still a puppy, but it is actually doable. You can start by doing it twice or thrice a week and then make it more frequent until you are able to do it daily with much less stress.
Other Ways to Maintain Oral Health
Apart from daily brushing, it is important to feed your dog high-quality food especially dry kibbles that promote chewing, and avoid giving table scraps. Also provide dental chews and toys that your dog will willingly play with. Some veterinarians would recommend drinking water additives or dental oral rinse that you can squirt in its mouth which will freshen breath and remove plaque.
Despite your diligent home dental care regimen, your adult dog will still need a yearly professional teeth cleaning to prevent tartar build-up and life-threatening illnesses related to dental problems. This will also assess the overall oral health of your pooch.
Dog dental care may seem like hard work but your furry kid’s big, healthy smile for the years to come will surely make it worthwhile.
You may like to read:
- One Simple Trick to Stop Your Puppy from Mouthing Your Hand
- 4 Super Effective Tips to Prevent Inappropriate Puppy Chewing