Is It Too Late To Start Brushing My Dogs Teeth?
Trying to keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know how to properly brush them. However, it’s not too late to start brushing your dog’s teeth! Here are some tips on starting this routine at any age and what the benefits are of cleaning your dog’s teeth regularly.
How do dogs develop the dental disease?
Problems like periodontal disease, a buildup of plaque and tartar between your dog’s teeth, can be avoided with proper preventative care. But even if you catch it in time, what are some natural ways to clean your dog’s teeth that won’t damage their teeth or cause undue stress. Here are three methods you might consider using.
If you choose to go with option one or two, remember: your pet will need regular visits to your vet for professional dental cleaning every six months. If left untreated, oral problems can lead to more serious health issues later on down the road. If brushing seems too daunting right now, we recommend scheduling an appointment at your local vet clinic as soon as possible!
Why is it dangerous for dogs to have dental disease
The real risk of dental disease isn’t so much tooth loss, but rather a systemic illness caused by bacteria moving from your dog’s mouth to his bloodstream. If your dog is experiencing discomfort, he may eat less, lose weight and become lethargic – even if only one tooth is affected.
The consequences are serious for dogs with moderate or severe dental disease. According to a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Dentistry, in dogs with moderate dental problems, 77 percent needed to be euthanized. Another study determined that more than 50 percent of dogs with periodontal disease are also diagnosed with heart or kidney failure within four years after their first exam for dental disease (Journal of Veterinary Dentistry).
Poor oral health can cause pain and interfere with eating, drinking, and chewing. Dental disease can lead to other illnesses because it allows bacteria to enter your dog’s bloodstream through his gums. This can affect organs like his kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart.
What can I do if my dog already has tooth decay or gum disease?
Before you start to brush your dog’s teeth, it’s best to train him to accept having his mouth handled. Acclimate your dog to a toothbrush by just letting him sniff it and get used to its smell. Once he seems comfortable with that, begin using a desensitizing toothpaste; you can use beef-flavored or peanut butter-flavored paste if you have a food-motivated pooch. After each time you’ve brushed his teeth, give him a treat afterward.
Over time, gradually increase how often you brush his teeth until he is accepting of daily brushing. If at any point your dog becomes uncomfortable with brushing, stop for a while and try again later. The process may take some time but eventually, your dog will be able to enjoy fresh breath as well as healthy gums!
What are the first steps in caring for my dog’s teeth?
Dogs, like people, experience tooth decay as they age. And while dogs have historically had a better time of it than humans with regards to dental health due to their meat-based diet (which naturally wears down teeth), they can still develop cavities. After all, humans get cavities because sugar in our saliva interacts with bacteria on our teeth, and animals don’t have significantly different mouth chemistry than we do!
Regular trips to your veterinarian can help catch problems before they start, but if you notice excessive tartar buildup or bad breath—two signs that your dog’s dental health may be slipping—it’s time to take things into your own hands.
How can I encourage my dog to let me brush his teeth?
To begin, you should make sure your dog is comfortable around you by getting him used to being touched. This means long, gentle strokes on his neck and head. Also, using treats will make it easier to get him used to have his mouth handled.
When he’s comfortable with you touching his head and neck, move on to touching his mouth. Using a treat to coax him into opening up is best for training purposes at first. You can also try rubbing a toy along his teeth to familiarize himself with tooth-brushing movements as well as sounds like toothpaste squeezing out of a tube and water running from a faucet (think of your own toothbrush). Be patient; training takes time.
Once he seems comfortable with all these things, start brushing! If he resists or pulls away, don’t force him; just stop what you’re doing and try again later. Eventually, he’ll get used to it and even look forward to your visits!
If you find yourself looking at your dog’s teeth with concern, don’t worry: You are not too late. Although tooth decay can start as early as three months of age, by six months most dogs have had a chance to develop strong oral health habits. If yours hasn’t, then now is a great time to start teaching him healthy dental care.
Is it necessary to brush my dog’s teeth?
Dogs do not get cavities as humans do. However, they still can develop tartar and plaque on their teeth. Tartar is much more dangerous to your dog than plaque, as it will begin to grow into your dog’s gums and bones. A build-up of tartar can lead to inflammation and irritation which might cause tooth loss. Even if your dog does not have any signs of disease or bad breath yet, it is important that you begin to brush their teeth regularly in order to prevent these problems from occurring down the road.
How do you start brushing an older dog’s teeth?
Dogs need their teeth brushed as much as we do, if not more! That being said, brushing a dog’s teeth is much easier said than done. Like us, dogs have gums and teeth that get irritated easily when exposed to bacteria and plaque. In fact, tooth decay can happen just as easily in pets as it does in humans. If you notice your dog has bad breath or excessive amounts of tartar buildup on his or her teeth, it might be time to start brushing them regularly.
How can I clean my dog’s teeth without brushing them?
Your dog will never be able to brush his own teeth and you should not try to force him to do so. You can, however, encourage your pet to accept tooth-cleaning at home by using some tasty treats. For instance, you can use a bit of peanut butter or cooked meat mixed with a little bit of yogurt or cream cheese.