K9 Dental Care Guide
Dogs need proper care for their teeth, just like humans do. A little effort today will save major medical bills and bad health issues down the road. Plus, dental disease has been scientifically linked to other diseases in the body, just like in humans. Good dental health is proven to contribute to a longer, healthier life, for both dogs and humans. In this blog post I’ll go over what you need to know about your pup-pup’s dental care.
Dental care for a dog starts when it’s born and ends when it dies. So keeping up is important! Let’s start with brushing. You should brush your dog’s teeth 2-3 times a week if possible. Once a week isn’t horrible, it all helps. But 2-3 times is what WebMD recommends, and so does my own vet.
Use a toothpaste made for dogs! Do NOT ever use human toothpaste, it can be poisonous to your dogs! And use a toothbrush made for a dog. Brush at a 45 degree angle to get under and between the teeth, and up into the gums. The gums are important, just like with humans, brush them, too! Very important!
But before you start brushing for the first time, test the toothpaste with your dog. Just a tiny dab on the tip of your finger. Make sure you can at least get the dog to tolerate it, or perhaps try a different brand/flavor until you find one your dog likes. But know your dog’s reaction to the toothpaste first.
Next, text the brush. Start by rubbing your (clean) bare finger over your dog’s teeth and gums gently, slowly at first. Get them used to having the teeth and gums touched. Then work into actually using the brush.
You only need to do a few teeth at a time, if your pup-pup is too impatient. Maybe start on only the outside of the teeth, then work to the tops, then the insides. And if you are able to do the whole mouth in one sitting, hey, more power to ya!
Spend a good two minutes minimum and use circular motions while focusing on the plaque, don’t forget to get the gums good, too. And talk to your dog in a soothing voice, tell them about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, calm them with your calm voice and manners. Always be calm when grooming, stroke and pet them, make it as calm and pleasant as you are able. Never groom when you or your dog are agitated or energetic or upset. It should be done when you’re both calm, collected, and in a good head space.
A little bit of bleeding from the gums is OK, nothing to worry about. Excessive bleeding means you have a gum disease problem and need to get pup-pup to the vet really soon.
When done, praise, give a reward, let your puppers know they were a very good puppers and that you love them so much! Always start and end positive and happy, but calm. Take breaks if you need too, be sure the dog is physically comfortable, start slowly.
*If you have too many problems with brushing your dog’s teeth yourself, most groomers off this service, as do many day cares and veterinarians, if not free, then very cheap.
DIY DOG TOOTHPASTE
stolen from another web site, sorry
- 6 teaspoons of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon unrefined raw coconut oil
- 3-4 teaspoons of beef (or chicken) broth for flavor
- Small sprig of chopped parsley
DOG BREATH & PERIODONTAL DISEASE
You dog’s breath will smell like whatever they just ate, but that smell should dissipate over a short period of time. Their breath shouldn’t be really bad all the time. If it is, you have a gum disease problem, get to the vet (your dog, not you yourself).
Some symptoms of dental diseases are: bad breath for long periods of time, inflamed/bleeding gums, excessive salivation, inability to chew properly due to pain, dropping food regularly while trying to eat, loss of appetite and/or weight, brown spots/deposits on teeth.
There are a lot of products on the market claiming they clean your dog’s teeth. Nonsense, for the most part. Those chew treats of various types and ingredients, break apart, meaning they fall away from the teeth when bitten in too. They crumble, they fall away, they do NOT rub against the teeth anywhere near long enough or hard enough to clean much of anything.
But they do usually have something in them to act as a mouth wash to freshen your dog’s breath temporarily. And if you have a poo-eater like I do (although she’s outgrowing it, becoming more and more rare), I’ll give Luna Belle a Greenies brand dental stick, simply to clear up her poo breath. And do not ever think these dental chew sticks replace brushing, they do NOT, and NEVER will!
I’m not saying they do no help at all, they do help a little, but just a little, not lots and lots, though. I use a quality bully stick I purchase in bulk, and Greenies dental sticks. So Luna Belle gets some help with the teeth, but gets to really chew, and dogs need to chew, every day!
And be sure to supervise your dog when you give them a chew. It will come apart into pieces, and just like giving them bones, you want to monitor them for choking hazards.
You can help your dog with a quality dog food along with some extras, which are good for a dog’s teeth and gums, a couple or three times a week. These include liver, raw eggs, dark leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, bone meal, raw hard vegetables like carrots, raw bones (never cooked bones) that are an appropriate size for you dog. And never let a dog chew a bone without supervision. They can choke on a piece and you’ll want to be there to catch that.
So keep yourselves and your puppers safe from the heat! And remember, OUR DOGS ARE FAMILY!