Brushing your dog's teeth is an important part of his care and should be a regular routine. Dental care does more than eliminate doggy bad breath; it also prevents more serious problems like gum disease, plaque build-up, and infection. Some infections can even lead to more serious infections in other parts of his body. As a general rule of thumb, you can tell a lot about your dog's dental health just by inspecting his mouth.
- Bright red gums may indicate gingivitis.
- A bacterial infection or an abscessed tooth could cause unusually foul breath.
- Plaque and tartar build-up are evidenced by a soft white substance on his teeth or by hard white, brown, or yellow matter.
When Should I Start Brushing My Dog's Teeth?
The earlier in your dog's life you start brushing, the easier it will be. It may take time and patience to get him used to the routine, but it's important to do so. These canine teeth-brushing suggestions will help you get started.
What Kind of Toothpaste Should I Use for My Dog?
Just as there are toothbrushes specifically made for dogs, there is a variety of dog toothpaste on the market. Do not use human toothpaste on your dog. The toothpaste we use isn't even edible for humans--that's why we spit it out. Your dog will almost certainly swallow it, and human toothpaste contains ingredients like fluoride, sudsing additives, and the sugar substitute xylitol, all of which are extremely harmful to dogs.
Also, the flavorings that we find pleasant in toothpaste are not necessarily your dog's favorites. Dog toothpaste comes in flavors he does like, such as poultry-flavored toothpaste or toothpaste flavored with real peanuts. There are some DIY recipes out there, but they might contain baking soda, which, with its high alkaline content, can upset his digestive tract. It may take some trial and error, but the dental hygiene process will be easier if you choose a dog toothpaste with a flavor he really likes.