Tooth brushing should be a regular part of your dog’s healthy regimen. Not only will it improve doggy breath, it will help keep your dog healthy. If you brush your dog’s teeth at least 3 times a week, the American Animal Hospital Association says it could add up to 5 years to your dog’s life!
There really is no excuse for ignoring your dog’s dental care, but many dog owners do. The American Veterinary Dental Society found that 80 percent of dogs have periodontal disease before the age of 3… and that condition carries a lot of serious health risks.
Without brushing, plaque builds up on your dog’s teeth. It breaks off and is absorbed into the bloodstream. That can lead to blocked arteries, which causes heart disease and kidney problems.
Just few years ago, the idea of brushing your dog’s teeth was nearly unheard of. While it is gaining popularity, the majority of pet owners still do not brush their dogs’ teeth on a regular basis.
1. “I only give her dry dog food so I don’t need to brush her teeth“: Unfortunately most dry dog foods have high starch content. Sugar and starches combine with the bacteria in the mouth and produce acids. These acids can eat away at the enamel on the tooth in addition to causing plaque build-up.
2. “My dog doesn’t like it”: When I was a kid, I didn’t like brushing my teeth, but it wasn’t a choice. It is part of a healthy lifestyle. If you let your dog make all the decisions in your house, it would be a disaster!
3. “I don’t need to”: I give them bones and chew toys: This is an equivalent approach to only chewing gum for your personal dental hygiene. You won’t find a dentist that recommends that approach! It is a nice addition but can’t do the job alone.
4. “I just put an additive in the water”: This is an equivalent approach to only using a mouth rinse for your own personal hygiene, except not even as good because your dog isn’t gargling and rinsing. Again, a nice addition but not sufficient by itself.
What you should do NOW!
1. Brush at least 3 times per week to get maximum benefit with a toothbrush specially designed for canines.
2. Use toothpaste formulated for dogs! Don’t use human toothpaste unless you have taught your dog to spit! Look on the back of your own toothpaste and you will most likely find a statement that it should not be ingested. This is because it contains soap. Soap creates foam, which gives people the perception that the product is cleaning but is not indicative of the cleaning power of a product (it is for marketing purposes: perception is reality). Toothpaste designed specifically for pets does not contain soap; it won’t foam up; and it can be swallowed safely.
3. Replace the toothbrush when the bristles become frayed or every 3 months, as the brush will start to harbor microorganisms.
4. Believe it or not dog toothpastes are not minty fresh. Instead they are flavored with a more palatable taste dog’s like. If you want your doggy kisses to be minty fresh, then use a canine breath freshener.
5. Follow teeth brushing with praise and an award so he/she looks forward to it next time.
The American Animal Hospital Association says, “proper dental care may add as much as five years to your pet’s life!” It only takes about one minute. Isn’t increasing your dog’s life expectancy worth a few minutes per week?