Did you know that more than 75% of dogs suffer from periodontal disease by the age of three? Signs of periodontal disease consist of bad breath, plaque, and inflamed or red gums.
Without regularly brushing your pet’s teeth, this can lead to plaque buildup which breaks off and is absorbed into your dog’s bloodstream leading to kidney and heart problems. Although dogs don’t eat the same range of cavity-causing foods that we humans enjoy, they still need regular dental care for many of the same reasons we do; to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar. It’s a fact that pets whose teeth are cared for live up to five years longer.
How often should you brush your dog's teeth?
Your dog’s teeth should be brushed twice daily if you are unable to do this twice a day then at least twice weekly. It is best to start training your dog to have their teeth brushed while they are still a puppy. This way, they get used to the toothbrush and will make the process a lot simpler for you.
How type of brush and toothpaste should you use?
You should always use a specially designed soft toothbrush and a toothpaste specially made for dogs. Do not use toothpaste made for humans as this is not designed to be swallowed by animals. The type of toothbrush you use depends on the size of your dog and also on your own dexterity. Many pet owners find it easier to use a finger brush, especially when just beginning to brush their dog's teeth.
Exactly how should I brush my dog's teeth?
Apply a small amount of toothpaste to the toothbrush. Gently raise your dog's lips on one side. You can either do this by pushing up on the lip with the index finger of your free hand or by placing your free hand over your dog's head with your thumb and index finger on opposite sides of your dog's upper jaw to lift his lips.
To brush the lower teeth, you will need to open your dog's mouth a little. This can be done by gently tilting your dog's head backward while holding onto his or her upper jaw with the thumb and index finger of your free hand.
In the beginning, concentrate on brushing the large cheek teeth and the canine teeth, the teeth where plaque and tartar accumulate most quickly. Gradually work up to brushing all of the teeth (this will probably take several days or weeks).
Do not worry about brushing the tips or insides of the teeth unless your dog is very cooperative. Most of the periodontal lesions occur on the outer surfaces of the teeth and this is where you should direct your efforts. In addition, the dog's tongue tends to remove a lot of the plaque from the inner surfaces of the teeth, reducing the need for brushing these surfaces.
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