Staying on top of dental care is as important to your dog’s mouth as it is to your dog’s overall health. One shocking statistic to note is that three out of four pets over the age of three already have dental disease. Unfortunately for pets, many diseases that start in the mouth can lead to other serious issues throughout your pet’s body, often impacting the heart, liver and kidney. With more frequent at-home dental care, pet owners can play an active role in preventing these serious conditions.
How can I play a role in improving my dog’s dental health?
There are several measures that dog owners can take to ensure better oral health. You can work with your veterinarian to achieve the best results, but typical dental regimens include a combination of:
- Dental treats
- Dental diets
- Daily brushing
- Regular exams
How do I brush my dog’s teeth?
Keep the following tips in mind to make the process easier for you and more comfortable for your dog.
- Use a specially designed dog toothbrush or a recommended alternative.
- Never use human toothpaste. Instead, use pet-safe toothpaste with a flavor favorable to your dog’s taste buds.
- Give your dog a small sample of the toothpaste to introduce the taste.
- Lift the lip to expose the outside surfaces of your dog’s gums and teeth.
- Brush with gentle motions to clean the teeth and gums, as you would your own.
- Clean the outside (cheek-facing) surfaces, as most pets will not allow you to brush the inside surface of the teeth.
- Be sure to reach the back upper molars and canines, as these teeth tend to quickly build up tartar.
- Reward your dog with play, petting or a favorite activity to positively reinforce the brushing process.