Answers To Dog Dental Care Questions

Posted on: 19 February 2016

Proper dental care is vital to the health of your dog. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from cavities, gum infections, and other oral complaints. Unfortunately, it isn't likely that you can train your dog to brush their own teeth! The following guide will help you navigate your pup's dental needs so you can keep them healthy and happy.

Do "dental bones" and other teeth cleaning treats work?

Everything from dry food to specific chews and treats is marketed as a tooth cleaner for dogs. While dry food does lead to less buildup on teeth compared to wet, simply because it contains less moisture so it doesn't stick to teeth as well, it isn't capable of cleaning the teeth. Chew toys made of rawhide or rubber do help scrape plaque buildup off of your dog's teeth, but even these aren't perfect. Some nooks and crannies of your dog's bite will still be left unscraped during the chewing of the treat. So a good chew treat is a good part of dental hygiene, but it isn't sufficient on its own.

How do you accustom a dog to brushing?

It's best to begin training them as puppies, but even older dogs can become accustomed to the procedure. Start by getting your pup into a sit or lie down position, and then begin petting and rubbing around the muzzle. Then, gently lift their lips and rub the gums and teeth with your finger. Make sure you have plenty of treats ready to reward good behavior. Move slowly and stop if your dog gets upset. Pick up where you left off later when your dog is calm. Once your dog is no longer nervous about you touching their gums, you can begin brushing their teeth. The length of time it takes to accustom your dog to having their teeth brushed depends on your dog's temperament, so practice patience.

Are there special tools needed?

A dog tooth brush and canine toothpaste are the only necessary tools, along with a treat or two as a reward afterward. Dog tooth brushes come in a variety of styles and sizes, from those with handles to those that slip over a finger tip. Make sure the size fits the size of your dog's mouth. If your dog tends to nip, stick to one on a handle instead of a fingertip model.

How does one brush and how often?

Place a small amount of paste on the brush and gently rub the teeth and gums with a circular motion. Try to get all sides of the teeth to ensure as much plaque as possible is removed. Frequency varies. You may want to do it twice weekly after a regular bath or grooming session or more frequently if your dog is prone to dental problems. Speak with your dog's vet or dentist to determine the best schedule for your pet. If you don't know a vet, check out an animal hospital like Kenmore Veterinary Hospital to find one.


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