Think about your normal morning and bedtime routine, both of them probably involve brushing your teeth, maybe flossing and rinsing with mouthwash (or they should!). We instill these routines in our children as well, so that they may grow up with good dental habits ingrained into their personal routines. But what about your canine pet? Dogs do need oral care, and veterinarians will tell you that nearly all dogs older than 5 years old have some sort of gum disease. It is easy to take care of your doggie’s teeth, and doesn’t require much in the way of tools, so start adding the dog’s teeth to your daily routine!
Here is what you will need:
Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Pet stores have toothpaste and toothbrushes for dogs, and it is important that you do not use human toothpaste for this job. You could use a human toothbrush, but dog toothbrushes are often easier to use inside of a dog’s mouth, and usually only require you to have one finger in there.
In order to acclimate your dog to having human fingers in his mouth, it helps to give him a dollop of peanut butter before the job. While he is licking the peanut butter from the roof of his mouth, you can gently rub your fingers on the side of his teeth and lift his lips and or tongue just as you would brushing your own teeth.
Once your dog is ready for the brushing, all you have to do is:
- Hold in one hand the dog’s muzzle, and lift his lips slowly. With your other hand start brushing a few of the easiest to reach teeth. Try to get the outer surface of just a few of his teeth and gums properly brushed in 2-5 seconds, then release. If your dog was patient and calm, give him a treat!
- Repeat Step 1 a few times a day, though it does not need to be all in one session. Dogs attention spans aren’t that long, and they don’t really understand the concept of brushing teeth, so you may want to brush a few teeth, give him a break, brush a few more teeth a few hours later, and so on.
- Once your dog is comfortable with getting his teeth brushed, it is possible to brush all teeth for a couple of minutes, just as you would brush your own. Its beneficial to brush BEFORE the dog eats, so that you do not have food particles in the way, and so that you can feed him afterwards and treat him for his hard work.
Brushing daily will improve the coloration of your dog’s teeth, his breath, and will reduce the chances of having dental or periodontal issues down the line. And at the end of the day, your dog loves the attention and will enjoy being with you and learn to enjoy having his teeth and gums massaged.