Just like us humans, dogs need to have a healthy dental care routine. Why is it important? And what happens if you ignore brushing your dog’s teeth? Whether you’ve never stopped to think about canine oral care or you’ve attempted to give those pearly-whites a good scrub but your pup simply refused, here are your top 7 most frequently asked questions about doggy dental care – answered!
Did you know it only takes one severely infected tooth or abscess to put your pup in danger of breaking their jaw? What’s more, gum infections can move into your dog’s bloodstream, leading to awful organ-related problems – which have the potential to cause premature death! Pause and reflect on that for a second. My heart nearly stopped just typing it. Put simply: you can help prevent a boatload of health complications by committing to brushing your dog’s teeth.
Okay, I’m sold. How often do they need to be brushed?
The more frequently you give those teeth a good brush, the better. To ensure your pup has pristine oral health, you should brush your dog’s teeth twice each day, and at a minimum 3 times a week.
I see. And how exactly do I brush my puppy’s teeth?
It should go without saying, but as a friendly reminder, human toothpaste can be toxic to animals, so please ALWAYS use a dog-friendly brand – like Vet’s Best Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste. If you’re a first-time brusher, consider starting slow. Simply dab some toothpaste on your finger and let your pooch get familiar with the taste as they lick it off.
Your pup may be a little wary about having their face poked and prodded at, so give them the opportunity to get accustomed to the sensation by gently lifting up their lips. You may need to repeat this a few times before your pooch feels comfortable letting you put the toothpaste on your finger and rub it around their teeth. Once they are ready to graduate to the next level, you can use a finger brush. Grab Nylabone’s Advanced Oral Care Dog Finger Brush on Amazon if you don’t already have one.
I can do that! So, how do I know if my dog has a dental problem?
The first warning sign to look out for: bad breath (yuck). Some other common symptoms include inflamed gums, excessive drooling, lack of appetite, and pawing at the mouth. You can also try and take a peek inside your furball’s mouth. If you notice an excessive amount of brown on his or her back teeth, it’s usually a strong indicator that your dog has tartar and plaque buildup.
Out of curiosity, what kind of dental problems can my pooch develop if I neglect to brush their teeth?
Failure to take care of your dog’s chompers can result in gum disease, loss of teeth, a broken jaw, and…why do I have to type this again…organ failure (heart now shattering into a million pieces).
Should I have my vet take a peek at my puppy’s teeth?
If you have a puppy or young fur-friend, aim to have their teeth looked at by your vet once a year. As your dog grows older and enters his wise middle-aged years, you’ll want to have your vet check his teeth two times per year. By doing so, you’ll give your vet the opportunity to spot dental problems before they snowball into a larger, unwanted issue.
Ugh. My dog hates the toothbrush. What do I do?
Still brush them, of course. However, there’s plenty of fun and entertaining toys designed to address dental hygiene that you can use to supplement your efforts. If chew toys are your dog’s jam, you can try Arm & Hammer Super Treadz Gator & Gorilla Chew Toy for Dogs. If they’re not a chew toy type of pup, there are doggy dental rinses and dental sprays that may be more up their alley.