Tips for Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
Dog breath. Yuck. While you may be tempted to turn your nose at the stinky odor, bad breath might be indicative of more serious health problems that could not only damage your pup’s teeth and gums, but her internal organs as well. Because oral health is such an important part of your dog’s overall wellbeing, the AMVA (American Veterinary Medical Association) along with several other veterinary groups have joined together to sponsor National Pet Dental Health Month.
While your pup’s dental health is undoubtedly important, keeping your dog’s teeth clean is easier said than done. Any dog owner who has attempted to brush his or her pet’s teeth knows that, in most cases, even the tastiest bacon or peanut butter flavored toothpaste won’t sway a stubborn pup. So, what’s a dog owner to do? Here are a few tips for easing your four-legged friend into the idea of having her pearly whites buffed and cleaned. With the proper care, you can rest easy knowing your best friend has the best possible dental health.
Choose a tool your dog is comfortable with. If she’s not cooperating with a doggie toothbrush, try wrapping a clean piece of gauze around your finger instead.
Find a toothpaste flavor your dog loves. You may need to experiment to find out which flavor of toothpaste your dog prefers. Be sure to avoid using human toothpaste on your dog’s teeth.
Take it slow and be patient. Introduce your dog to tooth brushing in small steps so she doesn’t feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed.
Use positive reinforcement. Teach your dog to associate good things with getting her teeth brushed. Small training treats are great for this.
Be consistent. Work with your dog two or three times a day for one to two weeks, slowly increasing the time you spend brushing each day.
Feed your dog hard kibble. Feeding your dog canned food alone can promote the build-up of harmful plaque. Providing edible and non-edible chews helps reduce plaque on your dog’s teeth.
Need some help from a professional? Consult a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT). The ASPCA provides some tips on how to find one in your area.
Brushing your dog’s teeth isn’t just about eliminating stinky breath. Good oral care is extremely important to your dog’s overall well being. Does your pup allow you to brush her teeth? Share your experience and tips with us on The Doggy Dojo Facebook page!