If you want to save your dog from a wide range of health issues, pay attention to their dental care. Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, as well as regular veterinary visits, are key in preventing periodontal disease and infection. Failure to take care of your pet’s teeth may result in loss of teeth, pain, bleeding, aggressive behavior, and damage to major organs such as the heart and liver. Plus, regular brushing helps get rid of dog-breath, which may be indicative of tooth decay. Start today and be consistent: consistency allows your pet to become familiar with the process and less fearful.
Adopt a Routine
As mentioned, be consistent and adopt a routine for brushing your dog’s teeth. Vets recommend that you brush your dog’s teeth two or three times a week. If you keep a regular schedule, it can help your dog learn when to expect both having their teeth brushed and all the rewards that come with it. Try to choose a time when the home is calm to help your dog stay calm, especially if they have anxious tendencies.
Be gentle with your pet; don’t hover over or restrain them. If your dog becomes frightened or anxious, they may bite. Give your pet time to adjust and only do what they seem able to tolerate. Over time, the process will become easier if you remain gentle and calm. It can help them be calmer if they’re allowed to sniff and investigate the dental tools on their own before you start brushing their teeth.
Buy the Right Gear
Don’t use human dental products on dogs. Human toothbrushes can be choking hazards, and regular toothpaste could be toxic. Invest in the right supplies, including a dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste. Many toothpastes have flavors that are more like a treat than a hygiene product, such as chicken, turkey, or bacon. There are also more human-palatable flavors like mint, but remember: what tastes good to you might be gross to your dog.
Use Proper Technique
Brush your dog’s teeth in a small, circular motion, along the gum. Work from the front of your dog’s mouth to the back, top to the bottom. If you see blood, don’t worry; this is common for dogs who have never had their teeth brushed before. Make sure that you brush each and every tooth, including the back where tartar can be the worst. You may not see results for a few weeks but be patient and consistent. With regular brushing, you should notice a difference in the color of your dog’s teeth as well as an improvement in the way their breath smells.
Don’t Push It
Don’t push brushing on a pet that is scared, in pain, or uncomfortable—it is better to stop and avoid being bitten or to use a safer alternative, like a dog dental water additive. Watch your dog’s body language to determine when they have had enough. It may take time to get your dog accustomed to cooperating with this process, but that is okay. Always give your dog a reward when you are finished with brushing to make it a positive experience.
If you are still struggling to get your pet to adapt to brushing, try some other alternatives and options. For instance, you may be able to find all-natural canine dental sprays or teeth wipes at a pet supply retailer. Also, you can prevent tartar with the right diet, including fresh foods and raw bones. Provide dental chews, chew toys, and antlers for your pet to gnaw—especially if it is a struggle to brush.
Good oral care is integral to your dog’s holistic health and well-being. Start by brushing your pet’s teeth today, with a vet-approved brush and paste. Follow up with veterinary care and evaluation from your dog’s practitioner.