There are many reasons why dogs are considered ‘man’s best friend’. Loyal and protective, they make wonderful pets for single people and families. But the relationship between humans and dogs goes back much further than that. For as long as can be remembered, many breeds have been used as working dogs. From sheepdogs to hunting hounds, gundogs, and more, they are still used on farms and for other jobs today. The sheer variety of breeds is also a reason why dogs are popular.
For a singleton in a small house or apartment, there are small dogs such as terriers, while those with more space and time might want to have a Labrador, a German Shepherd, or one of many family-friendly breeds. That’s before we get onto the larger Great Danes and Wolfhounds, which also make wonderful pets but do require plenty of attention. All dog owners care greatly for their dogs, but what steps do you take towards caring for your dog’s teeth?
This article is discussing how to brush a dog’s teeth, why you need to, and what you should use to ensure the dog has healthy and clean teeth for a lifetime. Let’s start with why canine tooth care is important.
Why Canine Tooth Care is Important
Dogs use their teeth much as we do – to chew and break down food – but it’s important to remember that a dog has a completely different diet to us. Dogs also chew on hard objects to keep their teeth in check. The major difference between dogs’ teeth and ours in terms of health and cleanliness is the obvious one: dogs do not clean their teeth regularly as we have been taught to from a very young age!
Therefore, if left untended, a dog’s mouth can become a repository for all manner of debris, and the teeth can begin to rot – just as ours would if untended. As the dog cannot brush its own teeth it is up to you – the loving owner – to do it for them. This may be a problem, and we’ll come to how to brush a dog’s teeth later on.
One further point to consider is that a dog’s teeth may serve a similar function to ours, but they are not the same. For this reason, there are specialist dog toothpastes available containing the ingredients that will clean a dog’s teeth actively. These are effective – ask your vet for recommendations and they’ll be able to point you in the right direction for your breed – but they can also be expensive. The alternative, which we are going to cover in the next section, is homemade dog toothpaste.
What is Homemade Dog Toothpaste?
There are a number of ‘recipes’ for homemade dog toothpaste that are surprisingly easy to create. For most, you should have the ingredients in stock, but you may need to buy some especially. Nevertheless, this is a money-saving way of ensuring your dog gets its teeth brushed daily, as you can store the mixture away.
Before we tell you about one of the recipes, there are some advantages to buying the specialist stuff. The first is that it has already been tried, tested, researched, and made for you and is ready to go. The second is that for dogs who have known tooth and gum problems, you may be best taking advice from your vet as to the product that you should be using. However, for routine brushing – and it needs to be done on a daily basis – here’s a quick recipe for a homemade dog food that has been proven to do the trick.
For some dogs, chicken broth may not be attractive enough, so try this:
Cold Flavor – the same quantities as above, but use chopped herbs in place of chicken broth, and chill it for a while. Dogs seem to like this, and it makes it easier for you to apply.
In fact, as long as you include the baking powder – which is the active ingredient in effect – you have a great choice of ingredients you can mix with it to entice the dog to have its teeth cleaned – which is the hardest part of the job! How do you clean a dog’s teeth? Here is some sound advice that should help.
How to Brush a Dog’s Teeth
If you are starting the routine of daily brushing with an adult dog, you are going to come across problems. Dogs are creatures of habit and will wonder what you are trying to do! Start by, at the same time every day, sitting with your dog and allowing it to get used to your hands near its mouth. Then, once it is confident with this, move on to using the brush – just momentarily at first – and reward the dog for being obedient. It will take time, but you will eventually reach a point where the dog will sit for a short time to have its teeth brushed.
Beginning with a puppy is much easier, as you can instill in it early in life that it is something that will happen at the same time, every day. As you would a small child, begin gently and soothingly, reassuring the dog as you go, and you’ll soon find the puppy become used to the process and will continue accepting the routine every day.
As a few final words, do ask your vet for the best brush and tooth care products for your breed of dog, and they will also be able to help you with advice on brushing technique and more. You may also want to ensure your dog gets a hard biscuit or chew every day as these can aid the cleaning process.