February is Pet Dental Health Month! Just like people, our canine companions need proper dental care. Fido can be afflicted with a variety of dental issues, such as gum disease, abscesses, misalignments, overcrowding, and cracked or broken teeth. While it’s very important for you to have your pet’s teeth checked regularly, home care is also crucial. Here, a local Portland, OR vet offers advice on brushing your dog’s teeth.
If Fido is still young, start brushing his teeth now. It’s much easier to teach a puppy that brushing is part of his normal doggy routine than to try and convince an adult pooch to try it out!
If you just approach Fido with a toothbrush and start trying to brush his teeth, you may frighten or upset him. Start slow. At first, just rub his teeth and gums with your finger. You can use a finger toothbrush or wrap gauze around your finger. Then, slowly incorporate the toothpaste and, finally the toothbrush.
Only use products made specifically for dogs. Human toothbrushes aren’t angled the right way for Fido’s teeth, and our toothpastes contain things that aren’t safe for him.
You don’t have to do your pup’s entire mouth every day. Do one segment at a time, and keep rotating.
Teach your dog to form positive associations with having his teeth brushed. The best way to do this is to incorporate yummy treats and lots of praise and ear scritches.
Pets tend to thrive on a set routine. Make toothbrushing time part of your daily doggy care regimen. This may only take you a minute or two a day, but can have a huge effect on your furry pal’s health and care.
If you aren’t having any luck getting your canine buddy to accept a toothbrush, there are other options you can try. Dental-formula treats, kibble, and chews all fight plaque and tartar, and can help promote good oral health. (Tip: put some doggy toothpaste on a chew stick, and let Fido have at it.) You can also try oral rinses or dental flakes. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.
Do you know or suspect that your pet has dental trouble? Please contact us, your local Portland, OR vet clinic, for all of your dog’s veterinary care needs.