Although it is believed that dogs have cleaner mouths than humans and that they don’t need any special dental care, they can develop plaque and gingivitis as well as some other diseases of the oral cavity. Teeth problems can, as in humans, lead to heart, kidney and liver disease which can be deadly if not approached on time. If you care about your canine friend, you should take care of its teeth and help it live as healthy and long as possible.
1. You should brush your dog’s teeth
Your dog can’t brush its own teeth, so it will need your help with that. It may not like it, but brushing is needed in order to prevent diseases and infections. The first step is buying a good toothbrush, which should be double-headed and with the brushes at a forty-five degree angle. Don’t try to brush your dog’s teeth when it’s full of energy- do it after exercising, when it will be more likely to sit still and let you do your thing. At first, don’t brush for too long or too intensive, as your dog is not used to its teeth being brushed and the process might get it anxious and stressed out. Each time you brush, you can do it for a couple of seconds longer, in order to let your dog get used to it. Of course, try to keep your dog as calm as possible by talking to it calmly and lovingly during the process and giving it treats afterwards. When it knows that there will be treats after brushing the teeth, it will probably soon start looking forward to it. Moreover, the sooner you start brushing your dog’s teeth, the less problems you’ll encounter and the more willing it will be to cooperate. This means that it will be the easiest for it to get used to the process while it’s still a puppy. Brushing its teeth once per day would be ideal, but don’t do it more than 2 times per day if you don’t want your dog’s gums and teeth to become oversensitive.
2. Picking the right toothpaste is important
Of course, human toothpastes are not appropriate for dogs, because fluoride which is contained in almost all human toothpastes is toxic for dogs. Luckily, there are toothpastes specially produced for dogs, and you can buy them at almost every pet shop.
3. Brushing your dog’s teeth is not the only way to maintain its oral hygiene
The kind of food your dog eats also has a lot to do with dental health. For example, soft foods often stick to your dogs teeth and if you don’t brush them regularly, they can soon lead to plaque buildup and tooth decay. On the other hand, crunchy foods are good for your dog’s teeth, as they scrape off what has stuck to the teeth and contribute to better dental health. If you just can’t get your dog to let you brush its teeth, giving it crunchy food may do the trick instead of toothpaste and a toothbrush.
4. Also, avoid sweet treats, as they can lead to plaque and tartar building up.
There are also toys that your dog will enjoy playing with that also mechanically remove plaque from its teeth. For instance, there are rope toys and rawhide chips you can buy at pet shops. However, if your dog is aggressive, chewing hard on these toys can wear down its teeth, so in that case, avoid giving it such toys or supervise the dog while it’s playing with them.