Dog owners put plenty of thought into maintaining the health of their pets by providing plenty of fitness, routine checkups, and quality food.
This means that oral hygiene is often overlooked. Fortunately, dogs are less prone to cavities compared to human beings. However, it is untrue to believe that the mouth of a dog is cleaner than a human’s since they develop challenges such as gingivitis, plaque buildup, and tartar. These dental problems can result in life-threatening issues and infections such as kidney disease, liver disease, and heart disease. This is as a result of bacteria entering the bloodstream and affecting these organs.
There are several signs that dog owners should look for in their pets, to know if they are in dental trouble. The main ones include the following:
Any of the signs above might be an indication of oral disease and a veterinary doctor ought to be contacted to offer a medical solution.
It is not advisable to use human toothpaste products on dogs because of their high fluoride content, a compound that is extremely toxic to dogs. Go for toothpaste that is pet-friendly, most of them are available in flavors of beef, seafood, and poultry. Alternatively, dog owners can use old-fashioned baking soda and water.
Pads or wipes can be used to clean dog teeth and gum line, especially when the time for full brushing is unavailable. This helps in removing leftover food and bacteria. Canine dental pads are effective and available in many pet stores.
The following are some insightful tips on how to properly brush a dog’s teeth:
Gently pet the dog while lifting its lip for a brief period of about 30 seconds. Give a reward when the session ends.
The dog owner should repeat the instruction above. However, they should try to run their fingers over the teeth of their pet this for about 20 to 30 seconds. The dog should once again be rewarded and showered with praise.
A small quantity of toothpaste should be placed on a toothbrush and the dog allowed to lick it. The dog is bound to like how the toothpaste tastes, if not then the flavor should be changed to one that the dog likes.
If the dog owner has been successfully in all the 3 steps above then it is time to try actual brushing. It is good to keep in mind that the outer surfaces on the upper side of the mouth are the most critical. Aim to brush on both sides for 20 – 30 seconds each. The toothbrush should be properly moistened and have soft bristles.
The amount of time that the process will take depends on the dog, some take a few days while other go for weeks.
Ideally, daily brushing should be the case, but it is not realistic. Dog owners should aim for 3 – 4 times in a week. Sometimes the dog may become irritated or tired when you are half-way into the process, you should not insist to finish but leave the other half to finish tomorrow. This is because patience of one dog is different from the next.
• It is not wise to spend anytime brushing the inside surfaces of a dog’s teeth or its lower teeth. The upper canines and molars located at the back of the mouth experience a faster buildup of tartar.
Dogs that have refused to develop an interest in brushing teeth can be allowed to gnaw on the right products such as knucklebone or rawhide. These natural alternatives help in scraping away dirt and plaque from their teeth.