More than half of dog owners NEVER brush their dog’s teeth! But as pet parents, we all know we should be taking regular care of our pet’s teeth. Not only can daily brushing save us money and time on clinic visits, but keeping your dog’s teeth as clean as possible helps prevent oral bacteria from traveling to the heart and kidneys and causing disease in those organs. Do you brush your dog’s teeth? Take this 7 second survey and let us know (be honest please!) http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GRBKHFX
But what can you do if your dog resists her regular brushings? Is there a way to make this chore easier for both of you?
The answer is YES…and we’ve given you some tips on doggy tooth brushing that can help both you and your pooch de-stress during this daily ritual.
Tip #1 – Acclimate your dog to having her mouth handled. This procedure can be used if your pet doesn’t like having her lips or mouth examined, and as training for any new dog in your house. Additionally, we highly recommend using this technique as a teaching tool for puppies.
When your dog is totally relaxed and cuddling with you, softly reach down and gently run your finger under her lips and over her gums, all around the outside of her teeth. If she initially resists, back off, let her relax a bit, and try again. Practice this exercise consistently every time you are snuggling together until she no longer backs away from your touch.
Tip #2– Even though a daily home brushing is ideal, we all know the reality is that most dog’s hate getting their teeth brushed and there are going to be times when you’re either out of hours or out of patience. So right from the beginning start using oral rinses and water additives which can provide the dental care needed to keep your dog’s teeth in good shape.
All-natural water additives poured directly into your dog’s bowl can loosen plaque build-up and freshen her breath whenever she takes a drink. Made with fatty acid salts that inhibit the growth of bacteria and mold, and baking soda to fight bad breath and remove plaque and food particles, water additives are an easy way to help your pet’s oral hygiene.
Foams and rinses are another alternative to brushing when life gets too busy. Compounded from the same all-natural ingredients as organic water additives, this new type of oral foam deodorizes your pup’s breath while fighting plaque and bacteria, all without alcohol or harsh chemicals.
Tip #3 – Introduce the toothbrush. Once she is consistently relaxed, you can introduce her toothbrush into this training. Make sure you have either a regular doggy toothbrush small enough to fit comfortably between your pet’s lips and gums, or one of the soft brushes that fit over your finger and slide easily into the proper position.
Use the same technique you tried when introducing your dog to having her mouth examined, substitute her toothbrush for your finger. Make sure she is relaxed when you begin working with the brush, and keep practicing over time until she is totally calm and stress-free each time you put the brush against her teeth.
Tip #4 – Bring on the toothpaste. Now that your pooch is acclimated to having your fingers and her toothbrush in her mouth, you can familiarize her with her toothpaste. Most canine toothpastes are formulated with either a beef or chicken flavoring that makes the paste more palatable for your dog, and she is less likely to resist or spit it out if you choose the kind of flavor she likes. If those flavors don’t work for her, try an all-natural, vanilla-flavored toothpaste to help satisfy even the pickiest dog.
Initially, try placing just a small amount of the toothpaste on your pup’s gums or lips so that she has to lick it off and taste it. Once she realizes that she likes the taste, she is less likely to be resistant to your brushing with it.
Using the same consistently gentle technique as before, you’re now ready to really brush your pet’s teeth in earnest. Using your soft canine brush and toothpaste, let the friction of small, circular motions remove any plaque or food particles found on the outside of the teeth on both the upper and lower jaw. You don’t need to open your pup’s mouth and brush the insides of the teeth; saliva and the action of the tongue tends to dispense with anything left behind in that part of the mouth. There is also no need to rinse her mouth after brushing. Canine toothpastes are made to be swallowed, without all the harsh chemicals found in human toothpastes.
Please remember: NEVER use human toothpaste, mouthwash, or dental rinses to clean your dog’s teeth. Many of the products we use in our human mouths contain harsh chemicals and alcohol that can be toxic to your pooch.