Why is it so important to brush your dog's teeth?

You’re not the only one who gets fuzzy teeth from not brushing. Your dog does, too. That fuzzy feeling is called plaque and it can cause bad breath, tartar buildup, and periodontal disease. Just like you need to brush regularly, dogs can benefit from regular teeth brushing and dental exams at your local vet clinic. While some people brush their dog’s teeth two times a day, the minimum is at least three times a week. Making brushing a positive pet care experience for your dog will ensure that you do it regularly.

The Dangers of Not Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Regular brushing will keep your dog from getting periodontal disease, which is caused by plaque buildup. When your dog’s teeth are coated in plaque and tartar, the gums will get inflamed, which can lead to tooth loss. Receding gums caused by periodontal disease can give bacteria in your dog’s mouth access to their bloodstream, which can lead to infections. Regular dental cleanings and exams at your local vet clinic can help to keep periodontal disease at bay.

Brushing is the most effective tool in decreasing plaque buildup before it mineralizes into tartar. It only takes 24 to 48 hours for that to happen, so you can see why brushing is so important. Once your dog has tartar, a local veterinarian will need to scrape it away. If you start a regular brushing routine early, your dog will begin to adjust to the new routine.

How to Teach Your Dog to Enjoy Teeth Brushing

Some dogs will take to having their teeth brushed pretty quickly, and it no secret that others will not. The earlier you start with teeth brushing, then the easier cleaning will be. If you’ve adopted an adult dog from your local SPCA, introduce them slowly to a toothbrush and then dog-safe toothpaste.

To start, you’ll need to choose a place that’s quiet and when you can take your time. Rushing will increase your dog’s anxiety and make the experience less pleasant. If your dog is small enough, you can place the dog on your lap and their head facing away from you. If your dog is a larger dog, then you’ll want to sit in a chair and have them sit beside you.

Second, you’ll want to practice rubbing your dog’s teeth with a soft cloth or your finger. Doing so will help your dog establish this pet care routine and become comfortable with you touching their teeth. For the beginning sessions, try rubbing two or three teeth on the outside to get your dog used to this motion. After several sessions, you can move on to having your dog taste pet-safe toothpaste, which you can get through your local vet clinic.

Third, once your dog likes the taste of the toothpaste, you’ll be able to put a small amount on a cloth or dog toothbrush. You may find that you need to put the toothpaste on your finger before you use a brush, but either way, make sure your dog is comfortable with the toothpaste and the rubbing motion.

Take your time when progressing through these steps. Rushing will only frustrate you and your dog. With regular practice sessions, most pet owners will be able to brush their dog’s teeth regularly.

Taking care of your dog’s teeth should be as important as taking care of your own. Weekly brushing and regular exams at your local vet clinic will prevent tartar buildup and infections, keeping your dog happy and healthy.

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