Dog Teeth Cleaning

by Brigitte Smith on January 13, 2009

The Great Importance of Dog Teeth Cleaning

Ideally, dog teeth cleaning should be a routine part of your pet’s regular care and their teeth should be brushed on a daily basis, or at least every other day or so. Because dog teeth are just as susceptible to disease and decay as are human teeth, it’s extremely important keep tartar and plaque at bay to protect your dog’s precious health.

Dental Disease and Your Dog’s Health

Diseases of the mouth, teeth, and gums can be very painful for your pooch and because they aren’t able to tell us when they have a toothache, as pet owners we must be diligent in keeping up with our dog’s dental care. If left untreated, a tooth infection may develop into serious complication for your dog and affect vital organs such as their heart, liver, or kidneys.

Your dog’s diet definitely has a direct effect on your dog’s dental health. Choosing foods and treats that are fortified and designed to keep their teeth and gums healthy are an easy way to implement dental hygiene into your dog’s life. Although professional cleaning by a veterinarian is an option, this should only be considered in extreme cases as unnecessarily having your dog anesthetized is not only expensive, but it also puts undue stress on your pet.

Cleaning Your Dog’s Teeth

Even if your dog is no longer a puppy you can train them to accept having their teeth brushed with some patience and perseverance. Both dogs and puppies alike can be acclimated to having the toothbrush in their mouths simply by starting out using your finger and a dab of peanut butter.

As your pet licks your finger and the peanut butter, begin rubbing the teeth and gums while offering plenty of praise. After a day or so of this, or as soon as your dog begins accepting this new process, use a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger and do the same thing as above. Rub the gauze around the teeth and gums using a circular motion as you would with the toothbrush. Once they are used to this, it’s time to introduce them to the real thing.

Never use toothpaste intended for humans on your dog as ingredients such as baking soda will upset their stomach. Also, dog toothpaste is specially formulated for their teeth and will have an appealing smell and taste to help make the process a bit easier. Start out by letting your dog lick a dollop of toothpaste off of the brush first, then use more to finally start brushing.

Lift the sides of your dog’s gums so you can access their upper teeth, aptly called the canines, and hold the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle for the best results. This allows you to clean the gum line as well as the teeth to keep the gums equally as healthy. Brushing two to three teeth at a time, brush in a circular motion anywhere from eight to ten times or so in order to get each area clean. A dog’s upper back teeth tend to be the most susceptible to decay and periodontal disease, so if anything, focus your efforts there first.

Dog teeth cleaning should always be a happy, positive event. However, you will want to remain upbeat, but also low-key to keep your dog on the same wavelength and from becoming overly excited. Usually no more than one minute or so is long enough before your dog loses interest, but after practicing for a bit, you’ll find that that’s all it takes to keep your dog’s teeth clean, keeping them happy and healthy.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nancy Bouman May 10, 2009 at 11:42 pm

Having been a dog groomer for 36 years, I see lots of dogs with dental problems. Daily or semi-daily brushing really does work. Also, if you have to have their teeth cleaned by the vet., the process seems to compromize the enamel, and the placque builds up faster. So if at all possible, clean those teeth regularly, and your dog will be healthier, and fresher breath

2 anupam May 11, 2009 at 8:07 am

nice article informative

3 Madeline May 14, 2009 at 6:12 am

Hi Brigitte, thanks so much for your updates. I’ve been so busy, but I enjoy reading your newsletters. I have 2 Cavaliers and plan to supplement them to protect them from heart disease. Hope it’s safe to use the amino acids w/ CoQ10- I believe it is.

With regards to brushing their teeth, I use a small square blue sponge on a plastic stick and wet it w/ a chlorhexidine wash from Drs. Foster and Smith. Should I be using an actual brush and doggie toothpaste instead? I appreciate your response as not one vet ever mentions dental care when I go!

Thanks again,
Madeline

4 Brigitte Smith May 14, 2009 at 6:15 am

Hi Madeline,

I think what you are doing for your dogs’ teeth is perfectly fine.

The article describes one option for teeth cleaning, but the crucial thing is to adopt a method that keeps your dogs’ teeth clean consistently.

As you mention, not many vets seem to give any advice about keeping dogs’ teeth clean. Perhaps that’s why so many dog owners end up having their dogs’ teeth cleaned under anaesthetic, because the teeth have got into such a state. (And this type of teeth cleaning is really bad for the dog – in fact any unnecessary anaesthetic should definitely be avoided.

In my view the best option for teeth cleaning is the Oxyfresh solution – it’s added to your dogs’ drinking water.

Of course, as always, please note that I am not a vet and I have no veterinary training whatsoever. I speak only from my own very limited experience as a dog owner like yourself.

Regards,
Brigitte

5 Brigitte Smith May 14, 2009 at 6:17 am

Hi Nancy,

Thanks for your input.

And thanks for pointing out even more reasons for avoiding veterinary teeth cleaning by keeping our dogs’ teeth sparkling clean all the time!

I hadn’t heard that the process compromises the enamel, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised. I know that people who have their dogs’ teeth cleaned by the vet do seem to require to get the process repeated sometimes fairly frequently.

Regards,
Brigitte

6 Carole Curtis May 28, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Hello Madeline,
I have a small dog with a heart murmur and would much like to start using amino acids w/ CoQ10, as mentioned in your blog – I am not sure to buy this and what brand I should be looking for. Can you please advise me the best course of action.
With best wishes,
Carole Curtis

7 Carole Curtis May 28, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Hi Bridgette,
I have read with great interest your blog on teeth cleaning for dogs.
Can you pls tell me where you buy Oxyfresh solution.
With best wishes,
Carole Curtis

8 Brigitte Smith June 7, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Hi Carole,

Yes, go to http://www.HealthyHappyDogs.com/Oral for information about the Oxyfresh solution, and the links to the site to buy same.

Regards,
Brigitte

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