Everyone always says that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s. Based on saliva, there may be some truth to that. However, your dog’s teeth and gums are not going to stay clean on their own, just like yours won’t. Your dog could be at risk for gum disease. This is an issue that is more common than you may think. If your dog does get gum disease, there will not be anything you will be able to do at that point. For this disease, it is all about prevention.
Just like with our own teeth, plaque will form on teeth that are not being brushed. Also like our own teeth, plaque will turn into tartar. These things are not going to be good for your dog’s gums. They are going to cause irritation. Here are some signs to look for that these things are starting to occur: gums that are looking swollen or red, blood coming from their gums, an increase in difficulty when it comes to chewing or even swallowing, drooling, and stinky breath. There may be other signs, but these are some good ones to know if this may be happening.
Now you know what to look for, but how are you going to keep this from happening in the first place? You already know the answer to this one because it is the same way you keep your own teeth and gums healthy: you brush them. The more you are able to brush your dog’s teeth, the better. However, if you are not able to brush them as consistently as you may want to, at least a few times a week should be sufficient. Here is what you will want to do. You will want to start with some sort of toothbrush, although it does not need to be a traditional toothbrush. There are toothbrushes made specifically for dogs, but you can also use a children’s toothbrush that is soft, your own finger, or you could still use your finger wrapped in cotton or gauze. Any of these options will work just fine. As far as toothpaste goes, do not use the toothpaste you use for yourself. This will be harmful for your dog. Instead, you will need to use specific toothpaste that will be healthier for your dog.
Your dog may not like the idea of having its teeth brushed at first, so you will need to get them used to it. You can start by helping them get used to the flavor of the toothpaste. You can put some of it on your finger and rub it on the inside of their cheeks. This will help them get used to the taste as well as having something in their mouth. As you do this with your dog, you may want to reward them so they will start seeing this as a good thing. From there, you can slowly build up the amount of time you are brushing their teeth while they continue to get used to the idea. It will hopefully become easier and easier. Make sure you are being thorough; remember, the whole point is to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy.