Thursday, September 11, 2008

Brushing Your Dog's Teeth

Good dental care for your pet means the end of bad breath, but more importantly, good dental care can really make a long term difference in the overall health of your dog, not just with mouth problems.

In order to properly brush your dog's teeth, you should allow enough time to do the job properly. If you try to rush through the job, your dog will become stressed, nervous, and less co-operative. First, ask your dog to sit. Hold his muzzle closed with your thumb over the top of his nose and your fingers underneath his muzzle. Keep his mouth shut and gently lift his lip at the side so that his teeth show. Apply a small amount of natural pet toothpaste gel to a pet toothbrush. You should not use human toothpaste for several reasons. Human toothpaste can be harmful if swallowed.

The toothbrush should be positioned so that it slides into the back of the mouth between the gums and the dog's teeth. Begin brushing at the back of the mouth and move forward to the front of the mouth. Make sure to be gentle so as not to hurt your dog. Once you have finished brushing all dog teeth on one side, repeat this same motion on the other side. You usually do not need to brush the inside face of the teeth as the dog does a good job on his own keeping this area clean with his tongue. Finish the brushing job by cleaning those tiny teeth at the front of the mouth. This may tickle your dog, so it is best to brush these teeth last.

Tips to Make Brushing Easier
1. Start early! For puppies, examine and clean the dog's teeth as part of a routine health check. Try to make brushing something fun.
2. If you are cleaning an older dog's teeth for the first time, the dog may be surprised and uncomfortable the first few times you brush. Work up to a full brushing in stages to help your dog gain comfort with your fingers in his mouth.
3. Begin by helping your dog to relax. Examine his teeth and gums without attempting to brush at all. This will allow the dog to become comfortable with your fingers in his mouth.
4. The next step is to rub your fingers over the dog's teeth without a toothbrush. This will get the dog used to the sensation of brushing.
5. If your dog is still nervous about having your fingers move over his teeth, keep using just your finger before moving onto a regular toothbrush.
6.. As soon as you and your dog are ready, try the toothbrush.
7. Toothpaste should be introduced as soon as you feel your dog is comfortable with the brushing process. Try to make the brushing process as fun as possible for your dog.
8. Keep your routine consistent so your dog knows what to expect next. Make sure to constantly praise your dog when he is doing a good job of letting you brush.