Brushing your dog’s teeth is one of those chores that everyone knows they should do, but many avoid. The dog fusses, you struggle, and then abandon the whole idea.
It’s well worth working on though, and not just for the obvious benefits of cleaner teeth and fresher breath. Brushing regularly allows you to evaluate your dog’s oral health and notice any changes before they become big problems. When you are consistently looking at your dog’s gums and tongue you will see if they are paler or dryer than usual, which are signs of anemia or dehydration. You will notice changes in his breath, such as a sweet smell that may indicate diabetes, or foul odor that can be indicative of an infection. Checking gums for recession or redness, and seeing how much plaque build up is forming can help avoid costly extractions.
Regularly handling your dog’s face also makes administering meds easier, since the dog is used to having fingers in his mouth, and can even aid in those times when you have to take something away from him.
The key is always to go slow and make all handling a positive experience for your pup. Use a meat-flavored toothpaste and plenty of crunchy treats. Don’t feel like you have to do a full brushing the first few times, you will work up to that as he becomes more comfortable. Simply letting him lick toothpaste off the brush is a good start. If your dog has a hard time call us! We can help with handling exercises to make the process easier and before long it will be a snap to get those chompers clean.