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How to brush your dog's teeth

Updated on September 18, 2007

Even though it may sound shocking (I know I was shocked, it would never occur to me I need to brush my dog's teeth as well) especially if you are a first time dog owner but dogs can get cavities just as humans and they are also prone to tartar build-up. You know that dodgy dog breath? Well sometimes it is a sign of periodontal disease (that would be a result of plague building up).

First and foremost before you even begin lets look at what you will need to brush your dog's teeth successfully. You should not use human toothpaste on your dog; you will need special dog toothpaste that you can get in most pet stores. Human toothpaste is not edible and since dog cannot spit you should not use it on him or her. There are a variety of doggy toothpastes on the market and what is great about them is they come in variety of flavors as well so this fact alone should make your dog perceive tooth-brushing as a form of a treat rather then an unpleasant experience.

Now lets look at the toothbrushes that you can use on your dog. Again there is plenty of choice from the regular toothbrush to the finger toothbrush, which is a plastic device you put on your finger and it has rubber bristles on one side. After some time and practice you will see for yourself, which works best for you and your dog. Place yourself and your dog in a position, which is most comfortable for both of you and can access their teeth easily. Do not fret too much especially first few times it will take a while to get it right. Lift the dog's upper lift and start to brush with circle motions the same, as you would do when you brush your own teeth. Take special care to brush the area where the teeth meet the gum. Also make extra sure to get the teeth in the back as this is the most likely place where dogs can develop a teeth problem and plague build up. Once you are done with the upper teeth move along to the bottom teeth.

To help with the tartar build-up you can also give your dog a bone once every month or so. Raw marrow bone should work just fine, however as we all know how greedy our dogs can be when there is a bone in sight keep an eye on them while they chew on their bone and remove the bone once you feel they had enough or it has whittled down. It is true dogs bones can create a lot of problems, like splinters logging behind the teeth or in same cases dogs can gulp down a whole part of the bone, however that is why you should give raw bones (as they are less likely to splinter) and keep and eye out on your dog the whole time. Also the size of the bone that you can give to your dog depends on the size of your dog.

In case your dog has a significant case of tartar build-up you should also consider taking him or her to the vet to get their teeth scaled. However, if you do keep up with your dog's basic dental care there should not be a need to visit a vet for scaling once every 2 years or so. Again the best would be to consult your vet.

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