By Vanessa Davis
Dirty Dogs Self Spa and Boutique
Brushing a dog’s teeth is about as much fun as having a root canal, but, if you can get Fido to cooperate, it has many benefits. The biggest benefit of brushing your dog’s teeth is just like ours. It keeps plaque from building up.
If left unchecked, plaque will eventually mineralize and become tartar. Once tartar starts to build up, it can destroy the gum line, which can cause the teeth to become loose and fall out. In other words, frequent brushing of your dog’s teeth will keep your dog’s mouth healthy, and prevent tooth loss and bad doggie breath.
Second, statistics show that a dog with healthy teeth will live longer, play more, and be happier and healthier.
Brushing Fido’s teeth should start as soon as possible, so that both you and your dog get accustomed to the practice. Your first task is to show Fido that he can trust you with putting weird stuff in his mouth. He’s not going to be too sure about what’s going on, so take the time to gain his confidence.
In your first attempt, try rubbing your fingers along your dog’s mouth and then inside his mouth, if he permits it. You can wrap your finger in sterile gauze first and put a dab of “Dog Toothpaste” on it. Do not use human toothpaste; it can make Fido sick.
After he’s used to your finger along and inside his mouth, try upgrading to a rubber finger pet brush and start gently rubbing his teeth. Do this for no more than a minute at a time. You don’t want to teach Fido that dental care time is boring and irritating.
After he’s accustomed to the rubber finger brush and accepts it without reservation, move on to introducing the toothbrush. In the beginning stages, remember, no more than a minute at a time, and don’t worry about the quality of brushing or the number of teeth brushed.
Before putting the toothbrush to Fido’s mouth, let him investigate the brush for a minute, allowing him to lick the toothpaste if he so wishes. At this point, all you’re trying to do is introduce the toothbrush, the toothpaste and the experience itself to your dog. Again, don’t put big expectations on the quality of cleaning at this point.
Let him investigate the toothbrush at the start of each cleaning session.
The key thing to remember is that, if you make this a big ordeal that has to be perfectly performed each time, Fido will tire of it quickly and start resenting – then dreading, then fighting – tooth cleaning time. Once that happens, it will be hard to get him to accept any dental care procedure.
It may take time for Fido to get used to the cleaning procedure, but once he does you have the hardest part of brushing over. If he isn’t fully trained to sit or lie down, then I don’t recommend using a toothbrush for a while. Stick to the rubber finger brushes so that you have more control and pose no hazards with pointy edges.
Brushing a dog’s teeth is no walk in the park. It takes practice and patience. Making it fun for both you and your dog will ensure it becomes part of your routine. It is all worthwhile when you consider the money you save on dental care and the benefits your dog derives from having healthy teeth and gums, not to mention the suffering you prevent by avoiding dental diseases in your furry friend!
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Wake Forest, NC 27587
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