by Don Jeffreys
(Houston, Texas, USA)
A dog’s teeth need to be taken care of the same way a human teeth needs dental attention. Dental problems in dogs can arise from lack of care.
Dental problems include peritonitis, cavities, abscess, and gingivitis. These dental problems can be easily avoided through daily dental care.
To start with dental care, it is important that you not sit down with your dog and have a go at it in one shot. This can only lead to a huge struggle that can end up with your dog resenting each tooth brushing session.
Or worse, you might get bitten in the process. Remember that you are in very, VERY close proximity with your dog’s mouth and huge danger of getting bitten if you don’t do this process right.
1) The first thing that you have to do is to have your dog get used to you introducing something in his mouth that does not necessarily mean food.
You may want to buy a few samples of dog toothpaste in your pet store, or have your vet suggest a popular toothpaste that is always bought by other pet owners.
You must not use human toothpaste for your dog will swallow it and can cause him to become ill. Dog toothpaste comes in several flavors that is quite similar to the taste of food much loved by dogs.
They are also formulated to be safe for dogs when they swallow it. See which toothpaste your dog would like. Have him taste the toothpaste several times in the day until he gets used to it.
2) Next thing you have to do is introduce him to the tooth brush. Tooth brushes come in several forms. For small dogs, a toothbrush that fits on your finger is ideal.
This is just like the brush for babies, only with a lot more bristles. Let him investigate the toothbrush through smelling and licking.
Tell him what the tooth brush is for and that the next time he sees it, it would be used for brushing his teeth. It may help if you let your dog see you brushing your teeth.
3) When your dog has chosen his preferred toothpaste and has also accepted his toothbrush, you can now start introducing it into his mouth. Don’t be concerned with brushing your dog’s teeth at this point.
Just place a small amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush would be enough. Proceed in rubbing the toothbrush against your dog’s teeth.
Just make it fun and not long-drawn. Just start rubbing it from the back teeth up to the front. It should take just about 30 seconds or less.
4) Once your dog has gotten used to having an object being rubbed on his teeth, you can now start with serious brushing. Have a towel handy, and do not wear your favorite clothes.
Your dog might slobber on you, so take precautions. Assume a comfortable position that allows you access to your dog’s teeth without straining yourself and your dog.
Lift your dog’s upper lips and brush your dog’s teeth and gums. Do not worry about having limited access at first. Just start with what’s visible, rubbing in a firm, circular motion as you clean your dog’s teeth.
Eventually, your dog will allow you to reach the teeth located at the very back of his mouth. That area needs special attention for it is most loved by bacteria that cause periodontal disease. Start with the top set of teeth before moving to the bottom.
5) Wash your dog’s toothbrush well and store it in a dry place away from your dog’s and children’s reach. Don’t put it along with your own set of toothbrush for you may accidentally use it.
Remember to praise your dog with each process, and never make toothbrushing a stressful ritual. Talk to your dog with a calm, encouraging voice to ease his worry over the procedure. Give your dog a treat after brushing.
When done right, your dog will look forward to brushing his teeth. If your dog is among the breeds that are predisposed to dental problems, always make sure to have a regular dental check up and cleaning with your vet.
The added attention will keep your dog’s teeth clean, white, and healthy.