Taking care of dogs’ teeth and gums actually contributes to extending their life spans. When plaque and tartar cause infection and bleeding gums, harmful bacteria enter the bloodstream and can gradually damage the heart, kidneys and liver. Regular professional care from a veterinarian and daily home care are the best ways to attain healthy mouths.
Slowly introduce your dog to an oral care routine. First, get them comfortable with having activity around their mouth and teeth. Gently stroke the outside of their cheeks and lips with a finger. Gradually introduce a dab of veterinary toothpaste on your finger, letting the dog taste it. Never use toothpaste designed for humans, as this may upset a dog’s digestion. A dilution of salt and water can also be used instead of toothpaste. Keep brushing sessions brief, just a couple of minutes a day. Praise and reassure your dog to keep the experience positive.
Help dogs get used to the feel of the brush. Place a small amount of toothpaste on a brush, use a slow circular motion and brush one or two teeth and the adjoining gum line. Over the next several days, slowly increase the number of teeth brushed. Brush in a circular motion, concentrating on the outside surfaces of the teeth and gum lines. If a dog does not enjoy the toothbrush, you can try wrapping your finger with a piece of gauze and scrubbing the teeth in a circular motion.
Dogs like routines, so make oral care a two to three times a week habit at minimum. Use treats and lavish praise upon your dog, in order to make tooth brushing and maintenance a pleasurable experience for all.