February is dental health month and it’s important to remember that dental hygiene is just as important for dogs as it is for humans. Here are some tips on how to brush the teeth of your favorite dog:
1. Don’t use human toothpaste when brushing your dog’s teeth: The toothpaste that works great for us can cause problems with your dog’s stomach. Make sure you buy a dog appropriate toothpaste. We use chicken flavor on our dog, which may not sound good to us but she loves it. Getting a good flavored dog toothpaste makes brushing your dogs teeth a little easier.
2. Ease into brushing your dog’s teeth: Your dog may not appreciate it if you jump right in with a toothbrush and start scrubbing. First, give the dog a taste of the toothpaste and then gently use your finger to ease into the process of brushing your dog’s teeth. When the dog is ready, start brushing.
3. Reward your dog while brushing: It’s an uncomfortable process for the dogs at times, so make sure after a minute or two of brushing you reward your dog. It may just be simple praise, or maybe a treat. The key is making it fun for the dog.
Why is it important? Consider these words from Dr. Ray Cahill in a story from wickedlocal.com:
Just like with humans, bacteria and plaque accumulate on our pets’ teeth and needs to be removed to prevent disease. Letting a pet walk around with dental disease puts a stress on the immune system and allows bacteria to get a foothold, which can then spread elsewhere in the body to trigger other serious health issues. As for how often to brush a pet’s teeth, research suggests at least twice a week to get the best results.
Brushing –– primarily for cats and dogs –– can be a positive and rewarding experience. You can introduce it as part of your daily routine and even link it to events like walking and feeding. Here are some helpful tips to get you up and running.
BONUS: Many products made for dogs help improve their dental hygiene. There are dental toys that are great for your dog’s teeth and the dog won’t know the difference. Check with your vet about purchasing dental chews that control tartar buildup. Too much human food isn’t good for your dog’s teeth either.