Your dog's teeth are extremely important to them and have a lot of work to do throughout their life. Unlike us humans, dogs use their teeth for more than just eating - exploring and tasting is a big part of a dogs being. This is why it is extremely important to ensure that you take care of your dog's teeth to avoid and complications in future. As with us, if your dog's teeth are not cleaned on a regular basis, plaque will build up and turn into tartar. Tartar is essentially a solid mass which can be brown and gritty looking which will make the gums inflamed and cause irritation. If left untreated it can also lead to other problems such as gingivitis and gum disease.
Keeping your dog's teeth cleanYou can purchase a special dog toothbrush and toothpaste which will allow you to brush your dog's teeth each day. ***Always ensure that you use dog specific toothpaste as human toothpaste can contain chemicals which are toxic to your dog*** As you will be aware, certain dog chews and foods have been developed in order to help with the removal of plaque and designed to help towards keeping your dog's teeth healthy. Always ensure that you buy the right size chew for your dog as having a chew that is too small could lead to your dog choking. Similarly, the chews are often very high in calories so ensuring your dog is not having a chew which is too big will prevent them putting on any unwanted weight. It is also worth keeping in mind that hard chews, bones etc can also wear down or break the teeth of the dog, although some dogs do love them.
How do you brush your dog's teeth?If you have not cleaned your dog's teeth before and they are older, it may take them some time to adjust to what you are asking them to do. This is why if possible, starting the process at a young age will allow your dog to become familiar with the process and cleaning the teeth should be less of a task going forward. Ensure that your dog is comfortable and relaxed before brushing the teeth - this will make the process far easier. Also note that you should introduce various elements of the process to the dog in stages rather than jumping in at the deep end.
- A few days before you start brushing the dog's teeth you should get the dog used to you moving the cheek to expose the dogs mouth. After a few days of this the dog should then be more comfortable with you doing so.
- Introduce the toothpaste to the dog. You can do this via your finger. Allow the dog to get a taste for the toothpaste. You can also rub this on the gum to get the dog used to the sensation. Again, carry this out for a few days.
- Next you should introduce the toothbrush. Donâ€™t brush the dogâ€™s teeth just yet, but let the dog lick the toothbrush with toothpaste on there.
- After you have done the above for a few days, or as long as the dog is comfortable, you should now start to brush the dog's teeth. You should be gentle but ensure that you are covering all areas of the teeth. At this stage you should focus on the front teeth
- Once the dog is comfortable with this you can then move to the back teeth. This may take a couple of week to get to this point but no two dogs are the same.
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