Your dog’s teeth are used for more than just eating, they also use their teeth during play and to learn about their surroundings.
And just like us, dogs can get dental problems If their teeth are not cared for. Your dog can suffer serious health issues including gingivitis that can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Bad teeth can also affect dogs that have heart problems by allowing infections to travel through the bloodstream.
If your dog has bad breath (thats not caused by any underlying illness) and a yellow/brown hard coating of plaque building up over their teeth, it’s time to do something about it.
It’s always best to start from an early age – but you can still get them comfortable with teeth cleaning, whatever their age.
Use a time when your dog is relaxed and keep the training sessions short, don’t force the issue or your dog will never want you near their mouth.
Start by getting them used to having your hand near their mouth – this can be done by gently stroking your dog’s face and cheek very gently – stop if your dog gets upset – do this over a period of several days so that your dog knows you are not going to hurt them.
The next stage is to put dog toothpaste (never use human toothpaste) onto your finger and allow them to lick it off – again do this for a few days.
Once your dog is happy with this, you can start with the tricky stuff
– using the toothpaste, run your finger along the inside of their mouth very gently. After a few days you can move on to the next stage.
Buy a suitable dog toothbrush and introduce this with the toothpaste on and just let them lick it off the brush.
Do this over a few days until your dog is happy with it and then slowly introduce the toothbrush inside their mouth, using gentle round motions, just do the front teeth first always let them lick the brush in between. Do this for a few days.
Slowly but surely move to the back teeth – do it ever so gently, stop if they get distressed and always praise them and let them have the toothbrush to lick so this becomes the reward.
After several weeks you should be able to clean their teeth without too many problems – always try to clean where the teeth meet the gum margin but always be gentle.
You can use vet approved dental chews and treatments that can be added to their water bowl that will help to maintain their oral hygiene between brushing.
If your dog’s teeth are very bad or have a large build up of tartar then speak to your vet who will arrange for the teeth to be specially cleaned.
Don’t worry if it takes longer for your dog to get used to having their teeth cleaned, just keep praising them and take it very gently one step at a time.
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