As a responsible dog owner you need to know how to clean your dog’s teeth properly.
Dogs, like humans, have the problem of plaque forming on their teeth. The thin film it produces is a combination of food particles, bacteria and minerals present in the dog’s saliva. Plaque should be removed by brushing a dog’s teeth; or as an alternative, giving your dog chew toys or chew treats.
If you fail to remove the plaque with regular brushing it will form tartar on the teeth, which leads to tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Plaque can be removed with regular tooth brushing at least once every couple of days. Plaque can convert to tartar in as little as three days if you don’t remove it, and then it can’t be removed by regular teeth brushing.
To clean your dog’s teeth, you’ll need a pet tooth brush with soft bristles and special pet toothpaste available at most pet stores. Don’t use toothpaste for humans because it will cause an upset stomach in your dog.
Pet toothpastes usually have a meaty flavor, so your dog should like the taste. The first time you undertake brushing your dog’s teeth, let it lick the toothpaste off your finger. Then put some on your dog’s teeth and rub it onto the teeth with your finger. Then start brushing, using gentle back and forth strokes.
You’ll need to clean each tooth to ensure that the plaque is completely removed. If your dog has a difficult time getting used to having its teeth brushed, you can clean only its front teeth and gradually include the back teeth.
Dog chew treats are good scraping agents and help remove the plaque from a dog’s teeth. Substitute your usual dog treats with dental chew treats which have a hard surface that helps clean the teeth.
Plaque can also be removed by giving your dog chew toys. If the toys have a tough texture they’ll remove the plaque. An inexpensive alternative to a chew toy from a pet store is to give your dog a rope or tennis ball to chew on. Just be sure that when buying chew toys you don’t select one that is too hard or your dog could fracture its teeth.
If you can afford the cost, it’s a very good idea to have a regular professional dental cleaning performed by your vet at least once per year. The vet will anesthetize your dog and remove the calculus and plaque deposits.
Many studies have shown that dogs fed kibble food have healthier teeth than ones that eat canned food exclusively. Dry kibble food helps remove plaque. If your dog needs to be on a diet of soft canned dog food, you can supplement this with some dry chew treats which will provide the same benefit as kibble and you’ll find that you need to clean your dog’s teeth a lot less.