Does My Dog Need a Toothbrush?

dogs teethDo you brush your dog’s teeth regularly?

If not, this should to become part of your routine going forwards. You brush your own teeth every day and this attention to good dental health should be extended to your pet too. Tooth brushing removes plaque, which will otherwise turn into hard brown tartar.

This is just about impossible to remove yourself once it develops and will require your dog to be put under anaesthetic for a thorough tooth cleaning. Keeping your dog’s teeth clean on a regular basis reduces the probability that your dog will develop gum disease and subsequent health problems.

This can lead to infection, which can spread to vital organs via the bloodstream.

Spotting the Signs of Gum Disease

Bad breath can be a prominent indication of periodontal disease, even before you notice tell-tale brown tartar and your vet recommends it on your dog’s teeth. Typically, the upper and back teeth will be the worst affected areas.

Pre-Brushing Advice

Good dental health hygiene starts in a clean and healthy mouth. If your dog has already developed tartar, this should be removed during professional tooth cleaning. This sets the scene for maintaining your dog’s dental hygiene via tooth brushing.

Which Type of Toothbrush to Use 

A soft-bristle toothbrush is best suited for tackling the area below the gum line. Most experts agree that it is okay to use a human toothbrush for dogs as long as the bristles won’t be too harsh on your dog’s gums.

If you have more than one dog, they should have their own individual toothbrush. Sharing a toothbrush increases the chances of spreading infection and bacteria between their mouths.

 Which Type of Toothpaste to Use 

A meaty-tasting toothpaste will appeal more to dogs. Never use a toothpaste that is designed for human usage. Dogs are not expected to spit out toothpastes as humans would and this means that it can be very harmful if ingested.

Various toothpastes that are specifically intended for dogs are available and these should pose no problems even if your pet does accidentally swallow some.

How Often to Brush

Plaque builds up in your dog’s mouth throughout the day, especially after eating. If it is not removed, it will start to solidify and turn into tartar. This typically happens within 36 hours of plaque forming on your dog’s teeth so it is important to get into the habit of brushing their teeth regularly. Ideally, this should be done every day to get rid of plaque and keep your dog’s mouth in good condition.

How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Brush in a circular motion, as you would do for your own teeth. Because periodontal disease typically affects the back teeth in dogs, pay close attention to these areas of your pet’s mouth while brushing. Another focal point should be the area where gums and teeth meet, as plaque will collect here too.

Any concerns about your dogs dental health contact your vet.

[Photo Credits: anexxx]