Doggy Dental Tips
Although the Easter bunny may have treated your dog to a special treat, this post-holiday blog entry is actually meant to help all of us dog owners to remember the importance and ease of doggy dental care year round! Dogs may not have as much plaque build up as us humans on a regular basis, but the importance of cleaning their teeth and gums directly correlates with their overall health and longevity.
Make A Habit
Making a routine of how and when you will brush your dog’s teeth can help them to better trust you as their leader in the process, and it will also cause them to better relax and respond each time you begin to brush their teeth. You may want to consider brushing your dog’s teeth in the evenings, or after they have had plenty of activity, ensuring that they will be better to lay down while you brush.
Depending on the dog, you may have to begin with baby steps and have low expectations on how many teeth you can actually clean in one setting. For puppies, it’s best to begin using just your finger with a little bit of toothpaste on it. Better yet, if your dog seems to be hesitant to the idea of even your finger, you may want to just start out by getting the pup to just practice letting you open their mouth or pull back their lips and gums. When they’ve allowed you to do so, remember to reward them right away with an approving pet, kind tone of voice, or even a small treat.
The same can be done when they allow you to introduce them to the taste of the toothpaste on your finger. You may have to repeat this every night for awhile or just focus on cleaning a few teeth at a time until your pup begins to trust you and the process as a positive experience.
Of course, introducing a toothbrush with the toothpaste is the final goal and will best clean your pups teeth, but don’t become discouraged if they only allow you to get a few teeth cleaned here and there. The biggest goal is to at least establish a routine and make it a bonding moment and not a hostile appointment.
Use the Right Stuff
Whether your dog is a newbie to dental care and just a pup, or perhaps, a mature protestor of teeth brushing, it may be a great first step to find a toothpaste that your dog actually enjoys! For instance, our grown weimaraner prefers an all natural toothpaste that has a peanut butter flavor. NEVER USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE on your dog, as fluoride can be poisonous to dogs!
Next, you’ll want to consider looking into getting a double-headed 45 degree angle toothbrush. If the above listed baby step of just getting your finger in their mouth seems to be difficult enough, you may want to look into getting a silicone finger brush that you can just slip right onto your finger.
Ideally, you want to brush your dog's teeth daily, but for most that is not the case. So, let's just agree that as often as possible is best! You definitely want to be checking your dogs mouth and teeth on a weekly basis to make sure everything is looking healthy.
When to be Concerned/See Vet?
Change in eating
Pawing at the face
Change in mood
Drooling more than usual
Bumps in mouth
Red, swollen, painful or bleeding gums
Yellowish-brown tartar crust along the gum line
There are also additional things that can be done to help your dog maintain healthy teeth and gums throughout the week. For instance, many companies make hard silicone chew toys that will help your dog’s teeth stay strong, as well as shaving off some plaque while chewing. Edible dental chews can also be great for your dog, especially if an everyday brushing doesn’t seem to be in your forecast. Just remember that they are meant to be more like a mouth wash, and won’t actually replace the act of brushing!
As your friendly Washington DC dog walkers, we hope these simple doggy tips can help you and your pup establish a regular habit of healthy hygiene as well as some great bonding after long days at work! If you have any questions regarding daily care for your dog, feel free to comment or ask one of your Woof Walk DC walkers!
Sincerely your friends,
Woof Walk DC