Do you brush your dog’s teeth?

Dental health is very important to your dog’s health.  Get yourself a toothbrush made especially for canines; you can even get a full kit that includes the toothbrush and toothpaste.   It is important to get toothpaste made especially for canines or make a paste out of baking soda and water. Never use fluoride with dogs under six months of age—it can interfere with their enamel formation. And please do not use human toothpaste, which can irritate a dog’s stomach. Special mouthwash for dogs is also available—ask your vet.  After you have the correct supplies, taking these steps will make brushing a lot easier for the both of you:

  • First get your dog used to the idea of having her teeth brushed. Massage her lips with your finger in a circular motion for 30 to 60 seconds once or twice a day for a few weeks. Then move on to her teeth and gums.
  • When your pooch seems comfortable being touched this way, put a little bit of dog-formulated toothpaste or a paste of baking soda and water on her lips to get her used to the taste.
  • Next, introduce a toothbrush designed especially for dogs—it should be smaller than a human toothbrush and have softer bristles. Toothbrushes that you can wear over your finger (or a clean piece of gauze) are also available and allow you to give a nice massage to your dog’s gums.
  • Finally, apply the toothpaste to her teeth for a gentle brushing.
  • A veterinary exam beforehand may be helpful to find out if your dog’s gums are inflamed. If your dog has mild gingivitis, brushing too hard can hurt her gums.
  • Try to brush two to three times per week.

Following these simple steps can prevent gum disease and tartar on your dog’s teeth and we, at Gwinnett Pet Watchers, recommend it for all of our canine friends!