Does My Dog Need Her Teeth Brushed Every Day?
Do I Really Need To Brush My Dog's Teeth Every Day?
If your dog has a large mouth and his teeth are spaced far apart (like those of Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Pit Bulls, and other breeds with healthy and normal mouths), if he keeps his mouth closed except when panting, and if his teeth are “scissor” type and come together neatly in the front, you do not need to worry much about dental disease and can probably get by with giving your dog plenty of things to chew on.
The CET chews are helpful, as are plain rawhide strips, rope toys, and whole raw bones. (Do not feed your dog bones that have been sawed like steak bones, pork chop bones, or rib bones.)
If your dog has a short upper or lower jaw and his teeth do not come together (like pugs, bulldogs, shih tzus, boxers, and other brachycephalic breeds), he breathes through an open mouth, or he has normal jaws but they are tiny and the teeth are too close together (like the Maltese, Yorkie, Miniature Pinscher, and some other small breeds) daily brushing is vital to prevent tartar buildup, gingivitis, and the eventual development of periodontal disease.
Do Puppies Need Their Teeth Brushed Daily Too?
Some people argue "his teeth are going to fall out anyway". Do not think that way.
If you start out with a puppy and teach the little guy that daily brushing is normal it will not be a problem for you to complete this task each day. The biggest headache in my experience is when owners ignore the problem until the dog is several years old and early periodontal disease is diagnosed during a visit to the vet. She needs a professional cleaning to start but after that requires daily brushing and is not used to the owner sticking fingers or other foreign objects into the mouth.
Older dogs have a difficult time accepting this procedure. Start when your dog is still a puppy.
How to Brush My Dog's Teeth
If you have never brushed your older dogs teeth before, take her in for an exam. She might need a good scaling, ultrasonic scraping, and polishing. If there are already pockets of infection your vet might recommend she be put on antibiotics and have her toys taken away until things clear up.
As soon as the teeth are clean it is up to you to keep them that way.
- If she is small put her up on a table because dogs feel overwhelmed when you are leaning over them.
- The first day just put your finger under the lips and give her a lot of praise. You can let her lick a little toothpaste off of the tip of your finger just to get used to the taste. (Never use human toothpaste as there is no way to spit it up and it will upset her stomach.) Don’t stress her out. Let her smell her new toothbrush (I like the finger toothbrush because a lot of dogs seem a lot less threatened by a fingertip in the mouth) and give her a treat, keeping it a positive experience.
- The next day put her up on the table again and let her smell the toothbrush, give her a small piece of cheese or other tasty treat, and touch her teeth a little more. It will take about a week if you go slowly but at the end of that time she should allow you to give the teeth a proper cleaning.
Simple, isnt it? If you cannot handle her find a behaviorist or trainer that is willing to work with her and teach you what needs to be done so that she will be more amenable and accept your help. Don’t ignore the problem or she will pay for it and she will eventually suffer for your lack of effort.
Your friend deserves your time and effort!
I prefer to brush my dog´s teeth with a finger brush with a toothpaste. Some people will brush the teeth dry, but if you use one of the chicken or beef flavored dog toothpastes your dog is more willing to accept the procedure.
What Happens If You Are Too Busy to Brush Your Dog's Teeth?
Taking in and caring for a dog seems like a lot of work sometimes. You have to feed her, train her not to tear up your house, and walk her. On top of all of that, you are also expected to brush her teeth every day.
Why not just ignore this chore and enjoy the dog?
If you ignore this problem, there are consequences, and bad breath is only one of them. Your dogs gums will become inflamed and pockets of pus will develop. She will have loose teeth, a sore mouth, and eventually will have a sore stomach and bowel problems from having to swallow all that pus. When she eats the bacteria will be released into the bloodstream and it can be lodged on the lining of the heart (endocarditis) and can eventually lead to congestive heart failure. The bacteria are also filtered out by the kidneys and liver so she might also have problems with those two vital organs.
Avoid those problems. Start brushing your dogs teeth every day.