Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How To Brush Your Pet's Teeth

Today is a very important video on how to brush your pet's teeth!

People do not brush their pet’s teeth! We do not realize how important our pet’s dental health really is! Dental procedures can cost into the $1000s! They are not cheap! And may have to become an annual thing depending on the dog! Not to mention our pets are put under general anesthesia with any dental procedure and every time anesthesia is involved there are risks.

Learning how to brush your dog’s teeth is going to save you A LOT OF MONEY!

Cats and Dogs do not get cavities like humans, they suffer from gingivitis, pockets, tooth decay, dental abscess, periodontal disease and infection. If we leave the infection in our pets mouth it can affect other systems of the animal and cause other problems.

Introduction To Brushing
You should get familiar with your pet’s mouth and your pet should get used to you looking into their mouth. Just like with our own bodies we should know what is normal. Does it look like your dog is missing any teeth? How much plaque is built up on the teeth. Being able to open your dog’s mouth at your own will is going to be a great tool if your dog is ever chewing something he isn’t supposed to and may harm him if he ingests it. Get your dog used to you opening his mouth, putting your fingers in his mouth is very important, start right away. This is extremely important in a puppy’s life to learn now to adapt into habit later.  

A great rule is you should be able to touch anywhere on your dog. Teaching your dog to be touched anywhere may save your dog’s life someday and this tip will come into play in upcoming episodes. So start touching your dog everywhere!!!

How To Brush

Now to get your dog used to getting it’s teeth brushed is a step by step process. We cannot just assume that shoving a toothbrush into our pets mouth with tooth paste is going to work. First for a week every day brush your dog’s teeth with your finger. Coat your finger with cheese, and then after a couple days use your tooth paste. Next put cheese on the toothbrush and brush the teeth with the cheese for a couple days. This will give your dog a nice treat while still getting used to the tooth brush. Once your dog is comfortable with cheese brushing, try to replace the cheese with pet approved toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste, the amount of fluoride is too great. The high levels of cleaning agents such as Fluoride in human tooth paste are not designed to be ingested and dogs cannot rinse so we cannot use human toothpaste on our pets.

If your dog is not getting used to the tooth brush very well, use a damp rag to wipe the teeth. Every dog is different go on their own pace, if a week is too slow go faster, if it’s too fast so slower. Just try not to get too excited and go too fast. The best thing to do is start slow start with short treatments and work into longer treatments.

They have chicken and beef flavored toothpaste as well at vet offices and pet stores which dogs think taste very yummy! There are pet designed toothbrushes. However if you would rather find own at your local department store here are rules to follow: If you have a bigger dog get a bigger tooth brush, if you have a smaller dog, a smaller tooth brush. A brush that has bristles that will fit over all teeth comfortably. As long as you purchase an ordinary no extra special toothbrush with soft bristles it should do the trick.

When you are able to brush your dogs teeth, go straight back and forth. Do not worry about brushing the tongue. Brush one side back and forth. Top and bottom. Now brush the other side back and forth. Top and bottom. Make sure to brush the front. Top and bottom. 

Figure out a way to hold your pet that is comfortable for both you and them. You can hold their mouth shut or have a friend even hold their body. Sitting next to them on their side works well. 

The outside is where most of the tartar builds up on the dog’s teeth. Make sure to get those areas when brushing. If you want to go above and beyond and your dog doesn’t mind get the inside as well!

Other Ways To Clean
Your veterinarian will recommend to brush your dogs teeth daily. Now I understand that we have busy schedules. If it’s hard to commit to brushing your dog’s teeth daily or you have troubles brushing there are other ways to do something dental everyday. Brushing weekly is even better then not brushing at all! Doing something dental everyday is going to insure that your dog’s teeth are going to be kept in better shape.
Try a dental diet. A great one I know of that you can purchase through your veterinarian is T/D by Hills. Because it is a dry food the kibles are large enough that they go over the entire tooth and push that tartar off. The way the food is designed it does not break into a ton of small little pieces, the dog has to really chew at it which will remove that tartar from the teeth.
There are dental sprays and gels you can apply to your dog’s teeth as well. I highly suggest them after your dog has received a dental cleaning, meaning your dog had a dental cleaning to remove tartar, now that it has a nice clean mouth to remain clean using a chlorhexidine based spray will  encourage the teeth to stay clean. 
Ask your veterinarian about a cleaning agent you can add to your pets drinking water. This is another great hassle free way to clean your pets teeth, however a downfall is that I have heard that it will change the taste of water which may discourage the pet from drinking it. Which can be especially harmful in cats. So make sure to monitor water intake when introducing this product. 
And always chew toys! Chew toys promote chewing which you learned before when I told you how great T/D with the chewing aspect was that chew toys help the removal of plaque from the tooth. 
Raw fruits and veggies can scrub away plaque and are great for chewing on! Plus they are good for your dog’s health! Give your dog raw broccoli apple slices or carrot sticks to scrub away any plaque built up.
One of my favorite special dental chews are the CET Chews that are designed with built in cleaning agents.

Always be sure to praise your dog after brushing their teeth! I remember to brush his teeth by putting his toothpaste and toothbrush next to mine! In a perfect world I will try and brush his teeth once or twice daily. Instead of giving his nice clean mouth a treat reward with some play time with you! I have more information on teeth and teething in a previous episode on my Youtube channel. 

Now if you thought the information in this episode was helpful be sure to subscribe and stay tuned for next week’s episode on Wednesday where I show you how to introduce clicker training to your dog. 

The steps I describe above can also be used in cats.

Thanks for reading be sure to follow if you're a Google+ users and I will see you tomorrow with another post and a video every Wednesday! 
© Faris Jaclyn I Littlest Pet Shop Photography

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