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Do I need to brush my dog’s teeth?

Updated on February 18, 2012

Brushing the teeth of the dog should be included in the grooming routine. However, while dog owners would enjoy running the brush along the thick shiny coat of the pet, the task to brush the dog’s teeth always takes a back seat. Of course dog owners are aware that this part of grooming routine is necessary to ensure the health of the pet. What makes the task daunting is the resistance that is shown by a dog not accustomed to tooth brushing. A dog owner concerned with the health of the pet would take time to brush the teeth of the pet.

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Dangers of canine periodontal diseases

Periodontal disease is one of the most common canine diseases. Unfortunately it is also the least treated disease. Given the dog’s indiscriminate eating habits, it would not be surprising if the mouth would be full of bacteria. The bacteria, other particles and the mucus will combine to form plaque. The plaque that builds up daily on the teeth of the dog will harden and form into tartar. Tartar build up is one of the causes of dental problems. Gum infection can spread to the other parts of the body, enter the bloodstream and reach the liver, kidney, heart and the brain.

Preventing dental diseases of dogs

Canine dental diseases are highly preventable. You, the dog owner can do a lot to keep the dog’s teeth healthy. A dental care routine is as necessary as brushing the coat of the dog. However, studies show that only about 2% of dog owners devote time to maintain the dental hygiene of the pet. Tooth brushing is very necessary in arresting the progression of periodontal diseases. Expect your dog to be resistant during the first tooth brushing sessions. Dogs though apart from being animals of habit also have the inherent desire to please their human friends thus your dog will get accustomed to the mouth “invasion” you are going to do.

Brushing the teeth of the dog

To brush the dog’s teeth, you need to have the right supplies. It is very important not to use human toothpaste. Your dog is intelligent but don’t expect your pet to spit the toothpaste just like we humans do. Human toothpaste may have ingredients harmful to the dog. Doggie toothpaste will entice the dog to be cooperative as the toothpaste is flavored. You can use a soft bristle toothbrush or a finger brush. The trick is to introduce tooth brushing to the dog slowly. Put a dab of the flavored toothpaste on your finger and allow the dog to lick. Lift the upper lip of the pet and brush the way you brush your own teeth. Be sure to brush the back teeth too. End each session with lavish praise for the pet.

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