Most dog owners do all that they can to maintain their pet’s health. But often there is one area that gets overlooked – oral hygiene. Veterinarians estimate that 85 percent of all dogs over the age of four have some form of periodontal disease. If this condition is not taken care of, it can result in loss of teeth and other infection.
Ideally, your dog should get some dental care each day, in addition to checkups for his or her teeth. You should brush your dog’s teeth every day, but if that is unrealistic, try for three or four times a week. And don’t overdo it. If your dog only has enough patience to have half of his teeth brushed, that’s OK. Do the other half the following day.
There are things your dog can chew on as well that will help his teeth. Rawhide and knucklebone are examples of some things that will help scrape off plaque. Artificial bones and chew toys will work also. Crunchy food can also help with teeth.
But none of these can take the place of brushing. To brush your dog’s teeth, you first need to get the proper supplies – a toothbrush (a human one will do, or you can use one made for dogs), canine toothpaste, and wipes or pads.
Canine toothpaste is specially made so that the dog can swallow it. Plus it comes in flavors like poultry and seafood. The wipes are for when you don’t have time to brush.
Before you start the actual brushing, you want your dog to get used to the idea by first touching and gently rubbing his mouth with your finger. Put a treat on your finger first, such as peanut butter. Then gently rub his teeth and gums. Move his lips a little to show his teeth. Also, cup his muzzle with your hands so he gets used to that.
Now it’s time to brush. First, let your dog sniff and lick the brush and toothpaste. Start slowly. Move the lips and brush the exposed teeth or rub them with your finger. Little by little, you want to increase the number of teeth you brush, occasionally putting more toothpaste on the brush.
After you have established this routine for a few days, try opening his mouth to brush his back teeth. When you are finished, give him a reward. And be sure to take your pet for regular checkups to a veterinary dentist.
Speaking of rewards, all dogs deserve vacations. When you and your family take one, give your pet one by bringing him to Barney’s Ranch for overnight boarding. Call us at (469) 273-1661 or e-mail us at info@BarneysRanch.com.