Your Canine’s Canines: Why It’s Important to Brush Your Dogs’s Teeth

Are you brushing your dog’s teeth?

We all make sure to brush our own teeth and our kids teeth twice a day, but how often are you brushing your dog’s teeth?  Periodontal disease affects most dogs by their 3rd birthday, so its important to know the best ways to keep their teeth healthy!

Here are five common dental care mistakes and how to fix them.

Using Human Toothpaste:

While it may seem easier to squeeze your own toothpaste out onto your pup’s toothbrush, it can actually be quite harmful to them.  Some human toothpastes contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that is toxic to dogs.  And if your toothpaste does not include xylitol, the foaming agents can lead to upset tummies!  Your best bet is to use toothpaste that is specifically formulated for dogs.  Most are beef or chicken flavored, which might make it a more enjoyable experience for both of you.

Not Rewarding or Praising Him:

If your pup’s teeth have never been brushed before, it may take him some time to warm up to the idea.  Rewarding him with extra treats and praise may help!  It’s best to take things slow … start by letting him sniff the toothbrush and taste the toothpaste.  Then get him used to having his mouth touched.  Gradually work your way up to doing some brushing.  Remember to be patient!

Not Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth Everyday:

You should be brushing your dog’s teeth every day.  It takes only 24 hours for the plaque that leads to dental disease to grow, so only brushing every few days isn’t very effective.

Ignoring Signs of Dental Disease: 

Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly is a great way to keep track of his oral health!  If you notice any changes like bad breath, yellow/brown tartar, inflamed or bleeding gums, you should take your pup to the vet.  Those tend to be signs of periodontal disease and should not be ignored.

Not Getting His Teeth Professionally Cleaned:

Even if you’re being diligent about brushing your pup’s teeth everyday, your vet might recommend a professional cleaning.  During this cleaning, your vet will remove tartar that brushing cannot and may recommend dental X-rays to check for signs of disease under the gum line and in the bones.

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