Brush-Up On At-Home Dental Care
Annual dental exams with a veterinarian are necessary for your dog’s optimum oral
health. Although some procedures should only be done by a professional, you can
still take advantage of an at-home dental health care program for added
assurance and prevention. Brushing and routine examinations for your dog are two preventative measures that
can easily be done at home
While performing oral exams, look for warning signs like bad breath, red
or swollen gums, a yellowish-brown crust of tartar around the gum-line, or pain
or bleeding when you touch the gums or mouth. These signs are all expressive of
gingivitis and other gum diseases. Watch for discolored, fractured or missing
teeth. Consult your veterinarian if you notice any bumps or masses forming
inside the mouth.
Step-By-Step Guide to Brushing Your Dog's Teeth
Here are some easy-to-follow steps to brushing your dog’s teeth. This
process will start off gradually, but will pick up in no time. Try not to
overly restrain your dog because it may imply something negative. Be positive
and excited during the process and your dog will be positive and excited as
- It’s all about introducing something new and having a
positive response. Dip your finger into some beef bouillon and call the
dog as if you had a dog treat. Let your dog lick off the liquid, then
proceed to gently rub the teeth and gums. Keep it brief. After a few
sessions this will be a welcomed occurrence and you can move on.
- Repeat the first step, but this time; wrap a small
strip of gauze around your finger to let your dog become familiar with a
new texture. Rub the teeth in a circular motion. Again, keep the sessions
brief to avoid discomfort or disinterest. Praise your dog to let it know
it’s doing well.
- After your dog is used to the gauze, you can switch to a dog toothbrush. Before actually brushing, let your dog get used to the texture of the bristles. You can do this by applying something that tastes good to the bristles and having your dog lick it off.
- Once your dog is familiar with the brush you can introduce a toothpaste or rinse (use pet specific products, DO NOT use human products). Dog toothpastes are generally flavored with poultry or something your dog will immediately enjoy. Let your dog lick it off your finger, then gently rub it over the gums like in Step 1.
- Now that your dog is used to all the tools you can start brushing. Remember to start small and work your way up. The canines are large and easy to reach. Start with these, then take a break. Increase the number of teeth you brush each session. Stay positive and praise your dog to keep dental health an enjoyable part of your dog’s life.
The hardest thing is getting started. Once you and your dog have gotten used to the routine, make it a daily occurrence. If you can’t do it daily, every other day will still keep plaque from materializing and will have an overall positive effect on your dog’s oral and dental health.