Leave the toothbrush on the counter. Use finger brushes or gloves to easily clean your dog’s teeth and reduce the stress on both of you. Cleaning your dog’s teeth do not need to be a battle of the wills between man and beast. Gone are the days of swallowed toothbrushes and liver flavored toothpaste covering your walls, carpeting, and clothing.
Contents at a Glance
- Why Clean Teeth are Important
- Socializing Your Dog to Allow Having His Teeth Cleaned
- Frequent Cleaning is Necessary
- Start with a Fresh Slate
Why Clean Teeth are Important
Cleaning your dog’s teeth will not only help combat doggie bad breath, but can also protect your dog’s liver, kidneys, and brain. Periodontal disease is not an “old dog” disease and can affect dogs as young as six months and can be very costly to treat and reverse. It is definitely a “prevention is the best cure” disease.
Dog teeth are susceptible to the same diseases as human teeth, including gingivitis and periodontal disease. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums surrounding the teeth most commonly caused by dental plaque. If the teeth are not cleaned, the bacteria caused by gingivitis can lead to plaque, a gritty substance that adheres to the teeth. If left unchecked, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can cause premature loss of teeth, and in serious cases can harm the dog’s liver, kidneys, and brain.
Socializing Your Dog to Allow Having His Teeth Cleaned
If you bring a young puppy home, the best way to teach your new puppy to allow you to maintain his dental health is to touch the inside of his mouth. With your new puppy sitting on your lap, begin by sticking your index finger into his mouth and gently rubbing the gums and teeth. If he tries to bite your finger, remove your hand and gently place both hands around his muzzle and firmly say, “No.” When he calms, begin again.
An older puppy or dog may require a little more effort during the training phase. If your dog has not been socialized to have his teeth or mouth touched, you will need to begin to teach him to allow you to touch his mouth. Begin with touching his muzzle and lifting his lip up on each side of his mouth. After your dog has learned to accept you touching the outside of his mouth, begin to insert your index finger into the mouth and gently rub the gums and teeth.
Keep the training sessions very brief and offer lots of calm and gentle praise. If your initial training sessions are fun and rewarding your dog will learn faster to accept having his mouth cleaned.
Once you can insert your finger into your dog’s mouth comfortably, you are ready to introduce the cleaning glove or finger brush.
Frequent Cleaning is Necessary
Teeth cleaning, unfortunately, is a daily chore for pets as well as humans. It takes only a few days for bacteria to form and harden into plaque. Once plaque settles on your dog’s teeth it becomes harder to remove on your own. Dental visits for your dog can be very costly since they usually require anesthesia.
To help maintain your dog’s dental health, allow your dog to chew on “teeth cleaning recommended” products, such as dental thread knots or Nylabones®. Another great dental product you can provide your dog with is called “Greenies.” Not only are they designed to clean your dog’s teeth, but also freshen his breath. For best results, your dog should be provided with a dental chew toy on a daily basis.
A visit to a local pet store will provide you with many choices to choose from, for dogs of all sizes.
Start with a Fresh Slate
Take a look inside your dog’s mouth. If your dog is over six months old, he may already have the beginning stages of periodontal disease. For best results, you want to begin with a clean and healthy mouth. If you see redness, irritation, or black and gray matter firmly adhered to your dog’s teeth, he probably needs a teeth cleaning. Speak with your veterinarian about having your dog’s teeth cleaned. Once you have your dog’s teeth cleaned you can easily maintain his healthy mouth.
Don’t let periodontal disease stricken your dog’s life and end doggy bad breath by including teeth cleaning in your weekly pet care routine.