Essential Guide To Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
As a dog parent, you might attest to the fact that your pet’s breath does not always omit the freshest of smells. This can become even worse when if you fail to give your beloved pooch the correct dental care and the much-needed regular teeth brushing. No doubt, the offensive doggy breath should not be the only reason to seek dental care, the overall health of their teeth and gums should be utmost concern. What’s more, getting your dog’s teeth cleaned isn’t just to benefit your own sense of smell – it is vital to your canine friend’s health as well as its wellbeing, as dogs have been known to develop dental diseases like tooth decay and gum disease if their dental hygiene is poor. In most cases, the infection can spread to other parts of the body.
For sure, as a beloved family member, the right amount of care is required for your doggy, and since your pet dog is incapable of picking up a toothbrush, the burden falls on you to ensure hygienic and healthy dental care. The good part of it is that the task is rather easy – just a quick work with a dog toothbrush has to be carried out regularly. To get started, continue reading this guide that offers all you need to know about dog dentition and how to brush a dog’s teeth.
Dog Dentition – Why It’s Essential
Before now, dogs that had lost a good number of teeth were seen as aging animals, and the process was considered natural, but in recent times, vets have come up with a different opinion. Just like human beings, a dog has no business losing their teeth early if their dental health is properly taken care of. A recent study revealed that less than one out of ten dog parents take care of their pet’s teeth on a daily basis. Can you imagine how dirty and smelly your teeth will turn out to be if you fail to brush regularly? It just happens that your canine companion’s dental needs are no different from yours!
The likeness between human and dog dentition does not end with hygiene; similarities still abound in the dental development stage where the young puppies develop milk teeth just like humans. The initial set of their milk teeth comes 28 in number but will later increase to a total of 42 adult teeth. Even the internal structure share similarities with humans, the only difference is that teeth roots are much deeper in the canine population. However, there are a lot of variations in the shapes and sizes of dog teeth; the most noticeable difference is that they are pointy and large, which comes is necessary when lifting, grabbing and tearing.
Another major difference between canine and human dentures is the carnassial teeth located at the back of a dog’s mouth, which is not present in humans. While the human teeth are designed to rub against each other in a bid to have their food smashed up, the canine dentition is equipped with a slicing action aided by the carnassial teeth with razor-sharp ends that are designed to shear against each other at the back of their teeth. This, in explanation, means that while dogs are not capable of chewing and grinding food like humans, they are more efficient at carving and cutting.
Why Brush Your Dog’s Teeth Regularly?
According to reports, around three-quarter of dogs develop serious gum disease before they reach three years of age. One of the major issues facing the canine population is gum problem, which if not properly treated results into periodontal disease, which can have your dog’s teeth falling out in no time at all.
Once the periodontal disease sets in, it can lead to severe complications which can come in the forms of kidney or heart disease. Below are symptoms of tooth or gum problem in dogs:
- Thick saliva
- Bad Breath
- Gums that are bright red in color
- Swollen face
- Dropping food
- Chewing food on one side
- Always rubbing their paws on the face or rubbing it on the ground
- Gum and mouth bleeding – scrutinize their water bowls for drops of blood.
The canine population is known for hiding their pains, so as a dog parent, you have to be vigilant to pinpoint any problem.
How To Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
For only the best care, follow the below step by step guide on getting your dog’s dentition cleaned, including detailed points on how to make the task as simple as possible.
- Get the proper toothbrush
First, you need to purchase the most suitable toothbrush for your pet’s gum and teeth. Contrary to general belief, not just any old regular toothbrush will do; rather, it’s best to opt for only the best dog toothbrushes which are specially made to be used on canine dentures. There are also pads and sponges which have proved effective in cleaning a dog’s teeth.
Before purchasing any finger pad brush, sponge or even toothbrush, you will have to take the size of your pup’s mouth into consideration. Have a look at how healthy their gums are and if they appear sensitive. If your furry companion happens to be the type with sensitive gums, it’s best to opt for a soft sponge in a bid to prevent abrasions. A small finger brush is also recommended for dogs with smaller mouths. You should consider all the available options before making a choice of the one you believe will be best for your pet.
- Introduce your chosen dog toothpaste
Before embarking on cleaning your pup’s teeth, it’s best to introduce it to the toothpaste you wish to use gently. Your best option is to smear some on your fingertips and present it to your pup for a quick lick. If the taste is pleasant enough, your pup will waste no time requesting for more.
- Train your pooch not to swallow the toothpaste but rather keep it in their mouth
Once your pup has had a foretaste of the dog toothpaste, you have to train it not to swallow the paste but rather leave it on the mouth. In the same manner as before, smear you fingertip with some toothpaste but this time around, use your other hand to close its mouth by holding the muzzle. Then position your finger beneath its top lip right by the side of its face. Start rubbing your fingertip against its teeth.
Always aim to give your pup’s mouth enough room to open to avoid being bitten. Then let your fingers slide further inside its cheek. At this point, it is unnecessary to say that your pet’s behavior is best known to you, and so if there is any chance of sustaining dog bites, you should avoid this part. Some dogs are known to be restless when you hold their muzzle, so there might be the need to seek behavioral advice.
- Get to work brushing the canine teeth
Now the full work begins! Wet the toothbrush with a little water, add the dog toothpaste, make sure to push it down deep into the bristles of the brush. Again, get your doggy’s mouth to close by holding its muzzle; failure to do this might cause your pup to take a bite on the toothbrush the moment you introduced it. With the aid of your thumb or a fingertip of the hand you are using to hold the muzzle, lift your pup’s top lip from one corner of the mouth and start brushing the teeth, starting with the longest which are the canine. Avoid starting with the incisors at the forefront of the teeth.
- Try to reach back the teeth
After you are done with brushing the canine teeth, gently slide the toothbrush into the back of your pup’s mouth, via the cheeks to get at the molar teeth. If it proves difficult, it’s probably best to exchange the toothbrush with a smaller one. You can begin with the upper teeth, then manipulate the mouth to open a little so as to gain access to the gum line in the lower part of the teeth. It is advisable to increase the brushing as you go on slowly. However, if you notice that your dog is becoming restless, halt the process and return to it later.
- Brush the remaining teeth
At this stage, your furry friend should be used to the sensation of getting its teeth brushed. Conclude by brushing both the canine teeth on each side of the mouth as well as the back teeth and ensure that the mouth is still closed. Finally, brush the incisors by lifting the top part of its front lip, after which the process ends.
Be sure to praise and reward your furry friend
At the end of a brushing session, be sure to praise your dog for being good! This will encourage them to enjoy the process and look forward to future brushing as well as ensure their good behavior.