Most pet owners are focused only on the quality of food, daily exercise and routine checkups of their dog to keep them healthy. But what about your dog’s teeth?
One of the most over-looked parts of the dog’s overall health is the oral hygiene. If your dog is suffering from sore gums or a toothache, he experiences great pain and stress that you might not even notice. If left untreated, it will introduce bacteria that could enter his bloodstream and can affect his kidneys, liver or heart. The dental problem can be prevented with regular cleaning and checkups.
Just like grooming, dental care should be one thing that you need to check. It is best to introduce dental care when your dog is still young. But, if you just realized its importance lately, don’t worry, you can introduce it to your dog slowly. Keep in mind that lots love and treats can go a long way in winning him over.
Experts recommend brushing your dog’s teeth every day if it is possible. If not, you can aim for 3 to 4 times per week. If your dog is not patient enough for you to complete the brushing, you can do half today and half the next day. Just don’t forget which part you did yesterday.
Tips on Brushing
Don’t expect that your dog will sit and open his mouth wide by simply telling him. He may think that this is only part of his bath. Don’t worry your dog will cooperate, it will only take several days to weeks depending on his age. Do not rush things.
The first thing you need to do is to spend some time touching his mouth. Place tasty treats on your fingers – like meat baby food, peanut butter or nonfat yogurt. Let your dog lick it at your finger, as you slowly rub his gums and teeth. Place another tasty treat on your finger as needed, try to slide his lips aside to reach more of his teeth.
He needs to be familiar you touching his muzzle. Slowly put your one hand underneath your dog’s lower jaw and the other hand over, and keep your hands in that position for a few seconds. Slowly move your hands toward manipulating his mouth by parting his lips, then slowly open his jaw.
Once he is used to it, choose the quiet and unhurried time of the day to do the brushing. Next step is the introduction of the brushing gear.
How to Introduce the Brushing Gear to your Dogs
First, let your dog smell and lick the toothbrush and toothpaste.
Move his lips aside, then use your finger or toothbrush to rub the visible teeth. The toothpaste may spark his interest.
Slowly, move to the other teeth, add more toothpaste if needed. Don’t forget the gum line. Do it in a circular motion.
Once your dog gets familiar with the brushing, you can try brushing his back teeth. If you are having problems brushing the inside of his teeth, do not worry that much. Periodontal disease is more common on the outer teeth. After completing your brushing session don’t forget to give him a special reward – affection, play or treat. Even if the process does not go well, you can still give him some treats. You want to create a positive connection with brushing, so a happy ending at first try will make him more cooperative on your next attempt.
How to Make his Visit to a Veterinary Dentist a Smooth Experience
At some point in your dog’s life, he will need to visit his veterinary dentist to have his teeth checked. To have a smooth experience with his visit, here are some helpful tips.
It is important that your dog’s visit to his dentist is as comfortable as possible, regardless whether it is because he has a toothache or for professional cleaning.
First, look for a reliable veterinary dentist in your area. You can ask your friends or your vet for recommendations. If possible, you can do a dry run to familiarize your dog with the setting. He can say hello to the staff, sample a treat and sniff out the waiting area. At the same time, you can check out the clinic’s facilities.
Ask around, if you are allowed to stay with your pet, if they accept veterinary insurance and others. Don’t forget to ask if you need to do something before his visit. If he will undergo a dental procedure, even just for cleaning, he may be subjected to an anesthetic, proper preparation is needed.
Proper dental care both from a professional and at home is a big part of your dog’s overall health. With the right information and patience, it can become a part of your daily routine.