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Brush Your Dog’s Teeth!

Just like people, dogs have dental problems. Most can be prevented by training your dog at an early age to calmly accept having her teeth brushed. But how?

In the past, nobody really worried about their dog’s teeth; they’re animals - animals in the wild don’t practice good dental hygeine, so why worry about it? Today, any veterinarian will emphasize that broken and decayed teeth cause serious pain in dogs, affecting their ability to eat and stay healthy.

When a vet cleans your dog’s teeth, she will be placed under general anesthetic for the procedure, just like a surgery. It’s always risky to be anesthesized, and senior dogs can’t have this procedure because they could have heart and respiratory failure due to the anesthetic. Your vet can show you how to avoid this procedure simply by training your dog to accept tooth brushing!

When pups are about six months old, this is the perfect time for this training. As your dog ages, she will still stand calmly while you brush her teeth instead of acting like you’re torturing her! All you need is a toothbrush and some meat or peanut butter flavored toothpaste for dogs; you’ll find these things in any quality pet store or at your vet’s office. Taste it - it’s pretty good!

To brush your dog’s teeth, praise her and then put her in the “sit” or “down” position. Start slowly, and scrub gently, speaking calmly to her for reassurance. Don’t over-do it on the toothpaste; using too much will activate your dog’s natural gag reflex and frighten her. Use just enough to get the job done. Remember to brush both the outside and inside of her teeth to remove plaque and tartar that can cause painful cavities.

When you’re finished, praise your dog highly and reward her with a treat; this lets her know that she behaved well, and that having her teeth brushed isn’t a trauma! As the years go by, your vet will include a dental exam in your dog’s yearly physical and vaccinations. Investing time and effort in training your dog to accept toothbrushing is much less expensive — and better for your dog — than having your vet do a root canal or extraction of a painful tooth.

If you noticing that your dog has trouble eating, doesn’t chew her toys anymore, and appears to be in pain, take a look inside her mouth; call your vet if you suspect a broken or decayed tooth. You wouldn’t enjoy life with a painful tooth and neither will your dog.

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