Pets And Oral Hygiene: Tips For Brushing Our Dog’s Teeth
The oral hygiene of our four-legged friends is as important as it is for us. Keeping your dog’s mouth clean is essential: if he has problems in the mouth, he may find it hard to feed himself or stop eating altogether or develop infections that can attack other organs such as the liver and kidneys.
That’s why it’s important to get him used to a constant cleaning since he’s a puppy: both the animal and the owner must become familiar with the cleaning routine, to allow the washing in peace.
Before we see together what is the most effective way to brush your dog’s teeth, let’s try to understand what are the main damages that a poor oral hygiene can cause and what signals to pay attention to and how to intervene properly.
Oral Disorders In Dogs: Here Are The Most Frequent
In case of poor oral hygiene, our four-legged friend may have some problems with his mouth, teeth and gums.
Let’s see together what the main ones are, what they involve and how to intervene.
- Bad breath may be an indication of poor nutrition, gastroenteritis or canine diabetes, or other diseases. Halitosis can be treated by improving oral hygiene.
- Plaque. Over time, bacteria and food residues on the teeth form a patina, called plaque, which can cause further inflammation if not treated properly. We notice the presence of plaque because the dog’s teeth appear yellowish and glossy.
- Tartar. It is the direct consequence of plaque. Over time it mineralizes, becoming hard and difficult to treat.
- Gingivitis. The gums can become inflamed due to poor oral hygiene, particularly as a result of plaque. In these cases, the dog begins to suffer from hypersalivation and has difficulty eating.
- Dental abscesses. An accumulation of pus indicates the presence of an infection in the mouth and may be due to the rupture of a tooth or gingivitis not treated properly. If this condition occurs, the dog complains of pain, may have a fever and probably stops eating.
It is important to remember that in case of serious diseases – such as tooth breakage, abscesses, acute gingivitis – it is always necessary to consult a veterinarian. To prevent or slow down the course of less serious oral problems, however, it is essential to know the correct oral hygiene routine for the “housewife” cleaning of our animal.
How To Brush Your Dog’s Teeth: Cleaning Steps And Tools
Just as with the grooming of our four-legged friends, within the home you can also take care of cleaning the teeth of the dog, without forgetting the importance of an annual check of the mouth by the veterinarian.
As mentioned, it is very important to get our animal used to washing right away: it can be difficult for us and annoying for him to feel the hands of the owner between the teeth, so it is important to become gradually confident, so that it becomes a natural operation for both.
Let’s now see together the steps to be taken to wash the teeth to our animal, what tools to use and with what periodicity to carry out the interventions.
The Necessary For Cleaning Your Dog’s Teeth
What tools do I need to brush my teeth with? Here are the basics:
- Dog Toothbrush: A soft-bristled toothbrush that you can buy from pet-friendly shops.
- A good alternative is the knurled rubber fingertip, which is worn on a finger of the hand and is inserted into the mouth of the dog, to pass it directly on the teeth.
- Toothpaste for dogs: specific for fighting bacteria that form in the mouth of animals, ensures the balance of pH inside the mouth. There are several on the market, even natural, and as a replacement you can also use bicarbonate.
How To Carry Out Cleaning
If we have tools available to clean our dog’s teeth, we can start with the hygiene routine:
- Let’s be comfortable: sitting, squatting, or with the dog in his arms if the size allows it, the important thing is that the movements are fluid.
- First, let the animal taste some toothpaste so that it gets used to the taste.
- Now we can start cleaning, passing the toothpaste or rubber fingertip first on the canines, then on the back teeth and finally on the incisors, which are the most sensitive teeth.
- In the end, we can reward our four-legged friend with a game and a festive cuddle.
Periodicity Of The Interventions
When your dog is a puppy, our advice is to brush your teeth every day, even quickly, to get him used to the routine.
As your dog grows, daily cleaning is always recommended, but you can alternate your toothbrush with other tools, which we see together below.
Alternatives To Tooth Brushing: Sticks, Snacks, Cleaning Pastes And Sprays
The toothbrush remains the best way to wash your dog’s teeth thoroughly and completely: you can still alternate it with other tools to ensure proper oral hygiene. Among these, we point out:
- Sticks: chewing sticks based on cleaning elements such as zinc sulphate and essential oils, flavored with chicken or beef flavor to be more pleasant. The dog chews them and, as the stick disintegrates in the mouth, the particles clean the gums. To choose the right sticks for your dog you should ask your vet, because there are different shapes and sizes. However, the stick should not be ingested: if your dog eats it, he may not digest it and have stomachaches.
- Snacks: they are similar to sticks, but they can be ingested without any problem.
- Pasta: there are some types of pasta, even natural, that can be added to dog food and prevent the formation of plaque and halitosis.
- Spray: Canine oral hygiene sprays can be a valuable aid to combat plaque formation and bad breath, avoiding gingivitis and more serious problems. The spray alone is still ineffective, so its use must always be accompanied by a method of cleaning “mechanical” as those mentioned above.
As we have seen, proper oral hygiene is essential for the health of our dog, and the support of a veterinarian is necessary. To provide the best welfare for our four-legged friends, it may be useful to know that there are insurance policies, such as Doctor Pet of UniSalute, dedicated to those who have pets. Doctor Pet includes a free annual veterinary visit and discounted rates for other services at facilities affiliated with UniSalute, allowing a saving of up to 30%.