February is National Pet Dental Health Month and a great time for all the pet lovers out there to re-evaluate their dogs dental health and take all the precautions necessary to keep their pooches pearly whites white!
Just like humans, without proper brushing, plaque buildup can put dogs at risk for gum disease, tooth decay, bad breath, and in severe cases, infection can spread to a canine's kidneys, heart, or liver to cause life-threatening conditions.
In honor of National Pet Dental Health Month, Heidi Ganahl, the CEO and founder of Camp Bow Wow, is giving U some tips on brushing your dog's teeth.
Buy The Right Tools: Buy a toothbrush that is angled and soft. For large breeds, stick to longer toothbrushes so you reach difficult places, while a finger brush is easier to use on smaller animals. Human toothpaste contains ingredients that can harm a dog's stomach, but there are many dog-friendly toothpaste options that come in fun flavors like peanut butter, beef or chicken.
It’s All About Timing: It’s important to approach your dog when it is relaxed and in a good mood. Don’t force contact, because the pup will rebel against you.
Positioning: Make sure your dog is comfortable before beginning. Avoid standing above your dog in a threatening way. Instead, get on the same level and sit in front of your pet.
Prep the Gums: Test your dog’s anxiety level and willingness to have his mouth touched. Gently rub your finger on the top row of teeth and gums. You may have to repeat this step a few times before proceeding.
Taste Test: Place a dot of the dog toothpaste on your finger and have Fido lick it off. The key here is to find a flavor that tastes like a treat. This will make brushing a lot easier.
Master the Technique: Start by opening your dog’s upper lip and brush along the gum line with a 45-degree angle. Continue to brush the rest of the teeth in a circular motion. Brush a few teeth at a time and focus on the plaque.
Reward Your Dog: Congratulate Fido for being a good sport with a treat, special attention or extra playtime.
Establish a routine: Although daily brushing is ideal, three times a week is a good start. Remember that dental hygiene doesn’t end with brushing, so speak with your vet to find out the best dental routine.
Thanks Heidi! Those were some great tips and we'll start using some of them on Teddy ourselves!
[Image via AP Images.]