Sam Shephard is an experienced German Shepherd owner and has learned throughout the years how to optimize the breed's health and wellness.
German Shepherds are known for being strong, loyal, and among other things, beautiful. One of the reasons that they are beautiful is because they have luscious coats and are strong, independent dogs; another reason is their great smiles!
Thus, cleaning the teeth of your German Shepherd is important. Many people know that our oral health is very important, and there’s no reason that this shouldn’t be true for dogs as well. However, it can be a bit of a different story trying to take care of a dog’s teeth than it can be taking care of ours.
- Why tooth care is important, starting with brushes
- Brushing and general teeth cleaning procedure
- Tips to get the most out of brushing
- Precautions for cleaning your dog's teeth
Getting Started With Dog Tooth Care
A German Shepherd’s teeth with develop tartar and plaque if they are not cleaned regularly, just like any human being. One of the best times for you to clean your dog's teeth is during your regular grooming sessions.
The easiest way to go about this is to get your dog a dog toothbrush and some special toothpaste. Dogs generally prefer to have soft-bristled brushes because they are not so abrasive. Long-term use of hard-bristled brushes can be dangerous to the gums of both dogs and humans.
If you don’t have access to a specially made dog’s toothbrush, then you can just use a soft-bristled child’s toothbrush. There’s really not much difference, and often they are much cheaper and just as effective.
Start by getting your dog accustomed to the idea of having their teeth brushed at a young age. To do this, you can begin touching their mouth gently when they are young. As they become comfortable with this, begin touching the inside of their mouth—their gums and teeth, etc. Once they are comfortable with this, you can break out the toothbrush.
After they have grown comfortable with you touching their teeth with a brush, you can begin the actual brushing procedure. Make sure that you get specially formulated toothpaste for your dog. Studies have shown that most toothpaste used by people is actually quite bad for our health, and it’s even more dangerous for dogs.
The Tooth-Brushing Procedure
Before you begin brushing, make sure that they have tasted the toothpaste and are okay with it. You can find this out by putting a bit of toothpaste on a finger and applying it to a single tooth. If they are not very adverse to this, begin gently brushing their teeth.
Make sure that you have first moistened the toothbrush and applied toothpaste to it. This will make the whole procedure more smooth and will be less likely to lead to damage of the gums.
Start by brushing one tooth at a time and gently brushing the gum line. As they become more comfortable with this, you can brush other teeth further back in their mouth.
As they grow more and more comfortable, you will begin to be able to brush several teeth at the same time. At this point, you’ll probably be able to brush their teeth without them even having to keep their mouth open. Fortunately, the majority of plaque and tartar gets stuck to the outside of the teeth, and while it’s important to try and brush the undersides, making sure that you get the front is usually enough.
German Shepherd Teeth Cleaning Tips
There are a few things that you can keep in mind to improve the overall health of your dog and the experience that the two of you have brushing your teeth.
- One way that you can improve the health of your dog’s teeth is by giving them dental snacks. These are often crunchy snacks that are filled with tooth-healthy nutrients. The abrasive nature of the crunchy snacks can help scrub some tartar off, and the nutrition will help ensure that their teeth stay healthy.
- Chew toys are another way that you can help to ensure that your dog’s teeth grow strong and stay clean.
- When brushing, you can go back and forth or in a circular motion. This is mostly a matter of what your dog prefers.
- Just like when you train your dog to do any commands, it’s an important idea to reward your dog with play. Some might be skeptical about rewarding their dog with a treat after brushing their teeth but this can be done if you are giving them healthy treats, especially if you are brushing their teeth early in the day. At night you won’t want to do this.
Professional Dental Cleaning
You might think that if you brush your dog’s teeth a couple times a week, then you won’t have to ever take them to get them professionally cleaned. This isn’t the case though, and it’s best to get your dog’s teeth cleaned professionally at least once a year.
Just like people still go to the dentist even though they brush their teeth everyday, dogs, too, should get their teeth looked at by a professional. Then you will be able to know what special precautions you should take to ensure the health of your dog, and the professional will also be able to clean or sort out any issues that you may have missed.
There are many signs and symptoms of a dog’s oral health that we are not aware of. Since oral health is often an indicator of the health of the rest of our body, it’s important to get your dog checked out by someone who has more of a veterinarian background.
Brushing a German Shepherd’s teeth is every bit as important as brushing a human’s teeth. Fortunately, sepherds generally eat quite crunchy food, which can actually serve to help remove some of the plaque and tartar from their teeth.
Regardless, there are a few things that you should be cautious of when brushing your dog’s teeth.
- Make sure that you don’t brush too hard. Doing this over a long period of time can lead to bleeding.
- If you are going to be away for a long time, make sure that you have someone looking after your dog who can brush their teeth.
- Make sure that the toothpaste you are using is formulated for dogs.
If you follow this information, you should be able to brush your dog’s teeth.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Liz Westwood from UK on October 17, 2018:
I have learned a lot from your article. When I looked after a labrador a while back he had dental sticks to chew, but I wasn't given a toothbrush and toothpaste.