You brush your teeth every day to reduce the chances of decay, so why not do so for your dog?
Their diet may contain fewer cavity-forming substances than ours, but they also get dental probs over time. Brushing can help reduce the plaque that contributes to that. It can also stimulate blood flow in the gums. Consistent dental care now can save you and your pooch a lot of cash, hassle and pain down the line.
It might take a little time to be able to brush your dog’s entire set of pearly whites properly. Be patient and the journey might just be a positive one for both of you.
*The ideal toothpaste is a pet-safe enzymatic toothpaste.
**The ideal frequency is daily.
Your pooch may be alarmed at the idea (and your odd behaviour) at first. Go slowly and give him/her time to adjust. You want this to be fun; patience is the way to do it.
It may take your hound some time to warm up to the toothpaste. Try dabbing a little on the lip or nose (mind the nostrils, though!) at first, then move on to inserting a small blob into the mouth.
Expect some drooling/salivating (especially if the toothpaste has a yummy flavour) in response to the toothpaste.
Cleaning your mutt’s teeth lets you keep an eye on his/her dental health. If you see changes like halitosis (unpleasant odour or bad breath), red, inflamed gums, yellowish-brown tartar build-up, bloody gums, odd growths, difficulty chewing, pawing at the mouth, or excessive drooling, your dog might have the early signs of dental disease. If you see these symptoms, it’s time to take a trip to the vet. Besides the bills related to unexpected trips to the vet, the dotsure.co.za Superior plan also covers your doggo’s wellness expenses, such as dental check-ups*. Click/tap here to quote and buy dotsure.co.za pet cover online.
*Limits, exclusions & conditions may apply.
Handled slowly and maturely (on your part), the time together, the gentle handling, the loving attention from you, and eventual cooperation from your pooch as you earn her trust, is an invaluable experience that will further strengthen your bond with your best friend. Good luck if you have a whole pack of pooches with pearly whites in need of cleaning! You may want to involve the rest of the human family in the process. Turn it into a daily dental ritual for canine and human alike (just wash hands in between each dog and of course before you brush your own teeth!). It’s always wise to directly supervise any children (who might get nipped by accident, or frighten an already-anxious doggle eyeing the toothbrush for the first time).
You can have your dog’s teeth cleaned by a vet.
This “scale and polish” removes the build-up of tartar that simple brushing can’t dislodge. That said, it’s a fairly serious process, requiring sedation (anaesthesia) and potentially the insertion of breathing apparatus during the procedure, so take care with dogs that have unusually shaped trachea like pugs and chihuahuas.
You can try treats that benefit teeth, like gels and snacks.
Let your vet recommend the best ones. “Feeding a high-quality food, avoiding table scraps and using treats that are specially formulated to keep teeth healthy,” Dr. Andy Roark advises on VetStreet.com, “are all easy steps you can take to support dental health.”
For more guidance, check out this demonstration from a Vancouver vet.
Chatting to Shortstraw’s Gad de Combes
7 Questions with our Vet of the Month
What does it really take to become a vet?
Haven’t you heard? Deaf dogs are awesome!
Weighing in on dog obesity
Pet insurance Quote & WIN competition with a cause...