Cleaning Dog’s Teeth at Home
Posted by Donald Lee
Tartar and plaque buildup on dog’s teeth can be a real problem. They can also get gum disease which will cause bad breath, infection, bone loos and tooth loss. The bacteria from infections can spread to other areas and cause what is called endocarditis or heart valve infection, liver or kidney damage. If your dog suffers from bad breath the animal probably has some problems with the teeth too. Some dogs have tartar buildup due to hereditary traits. So if your dog seems to have recurring tartar problems, you can discuss this with a veterinarian and see how to correct the problem.
You can help your dog prevent dental diseases by relying on a diet that contains crunchy food. A dental chew containing fiber, protein, antioxidants and other nutrients can be part of an oral care plan for your dog. This will help prevent some tartar buildup but it’s probably not 100% effective.
The best preventive measure for reducing tartar buildup and periodontal diseases is to brush the dog’s teeth two or more times per week. You can create a routine and make it a habit so the dog gets used to the procedure. Be sure to have the teeth of your animal checked by a vet about once per year.
Teeth Cleaning Preparations
Before you start an oral care program for your dog, take the animal to the veterinarian so they can remove the tartar on the dog’s teeth. If the tartar is severe, they may use what is called a scalar while the dog is under anesthetic to clean the teeth. (That is all the more why you need to brush and keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy.)
When you are ready cleaning your dog’s teeth at home, you should first:
- Make sure you have a space available to clean the dog’s teeth. Use a sink or a tub.
- Buy a soft-bristled toothbrush designed for dogs.
- Buy toothpaste that is formulated for dogs available in pet stores. DON’T use fluoride toothpaste that you use for your own teeth. The fluoride in human toothpaste is poisonous to a dog if consumed (dogs can’t rinse and spit like we do, so they’ll pretty much swallow the toothpaste).
How to Brush the Dog’s Teeth Step-by Step
Make the process enjoyable and take it slow when you first begin. Be sure to talk to your dog and let the animal know that everything will be fine. Be sure not to force the brushing on your dog, just go easy and soon you’ll both welcome the brushing. A calm soothing voice can go a long way to relax the dog as you brush. Take the dog for a walk after the cleaning or offer some treats.
Cleaning procedure for your dog’s teeth:
- Get your dog used to having your finger in the animal’s mouth. Use your finger to just touch his lips on the outside. Give the dog a treat after you do this. You can then rub the gums and the teeth with just your finger. You can put some gauze around your finger as you work on the tooth or use tooth-wipe. Compliment your dog or reward with a treat. You can do this for a few days until the animal feels fine with your fingers.
- The next step is to use an actual toothbrush and get your dog comfortable with this. Make sure you use a dry brush and touch the lips and teeth with it. Using a dry brush, lightly touch your dog’s lips and teeth. Treat and praise your dog to keep him calm. If you have success with the toothbrush you can add some toothpaste to the brush. Stop if the dog feels uncomfortable and then do step one again a few more times.
- Once the animal is comfortable with step 1 and 2, move on to getting your dog used to toothpaste in this step. You can get toothpaste that has malt, poultry or other flavor which the animal will enjoy. It might take a few tries till the dog gets accustomed to the toothpaste. Give him some on your finger to lick off and then you can apply it to the gum line.
- As your dog gets used to the toothbrush and toothpaste, you can start the brushing procedure. At first, start with small amounts of toothpaste on the toothbrush. Using a light circular brushing motion, start with the front canine teeth. These teeth are easy to reach and they will give you some practice in cleaning the teeth of your dog.
- As your dog gets used to the teeth cleaning, you should try to brush more its teeth. Increase the dog teeth cleaning time accordingly. When you brush the inner teeth, put your brush at a slight angle to get under the gum-line of your dog’s teeth. Work diligently on the back molars which can get a lot of tartar buildup. Repeat this step until you get to work on all of its teeth.
If you find that your dog doesn’t seem to like the teeth brushing you should wait a couple of weeks or so and then try again. You may need considerable time before you’re able to brush all the teeth in the dog’s mouth, so use some patience. After time, you’ll be able to clean the whole mouth and your dog will be grateful to your for keeping its teeth clean.
To a healthier and sweeter dog smile!
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