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How to Care for Your Dog’s Teeth
How to Care for Your Dog’s Teeth

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How To Brush Your Dogs' Teeth : Tips on Dog Dental Care

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We all want the best for our pets, and maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for their overall health and well-being. This means keeping your dog’s teeth clean regularly and taking it for annual dental check-ups as well. Without proper oral care, your dog can develop dental diseases like plaque buildups, gingivitis, and tartar, which can have serious consequences, leading to tooth loss and other infections in your dog’s body.

Taking proper care of your dog’s teeth and feeding nutritious food will reduce the risk of developing oral illnesses in the future. Besides, brushing your dog's teeth can be a great bonding experience for you, and your dog may slowly come to love the activity.

 

Why is your dog’s dental care important?

As a dog parent, you would want your dog’s mouth to be fresh and healthy. Here are 5 reasons why your dog’s dental care is important for its overall health.
 

  • Preventing dental discomfort

    Dental pain can be extremely unpleasant for dogs, especially when it is severe. This can be avoided by keeping your dog's gums and teeth healthy.
     

  • Preventing teeth loss

    When the bones that support your dog’s teeth get infected or damaged, they may weaken and fall out. Providing good dog oral care will ensure that your dog’s teeth remain healthy.

  • Preventing organ failure

    Bacteria residing in the plaque can enter your dog’s bloodstream and travel to the kidneys, heart, and liver. This spread of germs can harm its organs and make your dog sick. It is here that good oral hygiene will prevent bacteria and associated organ damage in your dog.
     

  • Preventing mouth odor

    If the smell of your dog’s breath makes you gag, then know that your dog needs a dental cleaning session. But when your dog has healthy teeth and mouth, bad breath will not be an issue.

  • Preventing growing dental illness

    Since many dogs develop dental diseases by the age of three, preventing it might be tough. But good dog dental care can prevent oral diseases from escalating to the point where it causes problems throughout its body.

    Dogs need regular oral care just like you do; gum disease and broken teeth are the major concerns. Fortunately, pets seldom suffer from tooth decay. Their cone-shaped teeth, non-acidic saliva, and low-sugar diets all help protect them from this nasty ailment. Regular brushing and professional teeth cleaning can keep your dog’s teeth clean, healthy, and gleaming. Giving your pet appropriate toys to chew is known to prevent fractures.

    (Note: If you give your pets sweets for snacks, they can get cavities.)


How to brush your dog’s teeth?

 

  • Choose a quiet time to brush your dog’s teeth

    It should just be you and your dog, with no other children or pets in the house.
     

  • Buy a toothpaste for your dog

    Dog toothbrushes can be easily found in pet stores or on the internet. But remember to use only dog-specific toothpaste while brushing your dog’s teeth. 

  • Choose a good spot for brushing its teeth

    Make sure you are in a well-lit area so you can see what you're doing when brushing your dog's teeth and that your dog is comfortable.

  • Introduce toothpaste to your dog

    Begin by displaying the toothpaste to your dog and allowing them to lick it off your finger.
     

  • Then start brushing its top teeth

    Hold its upper lip up and brush the top front teeth.
     

  • Move to brush its bottom teeth

    Brush the bottom teeth while holding the bottom lip down. Begin with the front teeth, and then work your way to the side and back.
     

  • Brush the sides and back

    If your dog is sitting still while you’re brushing its teeth, you can brush both the interior and outside of its teeth at the same time. Brushing the insides of the teeth is a little more difficult, so add this step after your dog is calm and after the outsides of its upper and lower teeth have been brushed.
     

  • Finally, reward your dog

    Brushing your dog’s teeth may be an odd experience. Thus, praise your dog constantly to make this a happy experience. Although it may seem unusual to offer treats when you’re brushing your dog’s teeth. But the primary goal should be to teach the skill, and then you may focus on removing food from the equation later.


Start care young

When your puppy first begins to get permanent teeth, check if the baby tooth has come out for the new tooth to grow. Retained teeth can cause the permanent teeth to be crooked. Toy dog breeds, with their tiny jaws, are more prone to such dental problems.

While hard foods and chew toys can help keep teeth clean, you need to get your pet used to a regular tooth--brushing routine. As soon as you bring your new pet home, get it accustomed to having its mouth handled. It is also good training — it teaches the dog to tolerate having things in his mouth without biting or snapping.

 

Feeding right

What your dog eats affects  its 'smile.' Dry foods and treats help clean plaque from its teeth. Rawhide chews are also good cleaning tools, as are some of the knobby plastic toys on the market. None of these are hard enough to cause tooth damage,  however, monitor your dog to be sure that it doesn’t swallow small pieces of these toys. Real bones can also be dangerous for your pet and should not be used for teeth-cleaning purposes.

 

All dry adult IAMS™ Dog Foods,, include Daily Dental Care, a special kibble coating that helps reduce tartar buildup for better oral health. So, along with providing balanced nutrition, our range of dry dog food focuses on dental hygiene as well.

 


Teaching your dog to accept brushing

It just takes a little time and patience. Begin by running your finger gently over his gums. At first, just rub the outside, but as he adjusts to the routine, begin to open his mouth and rub the gums inside the teeth as well.

As your dog gets accustomed to this, wrap your finger with gauze and rub his gums. Eventually, add a pet toothpaste; do not use human toothpaste. After a few weeks, your dog should be willing to accept a toothbrush for pets, which should have soft, multi-tufted synthetic bristles.

Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and apply it to the area where teeth and gums meet. Rotate it in small circles, overlapping several teeth. Finish with vertical strokes to pull plaque from between the teeth. Repeat until all the teeth on the cheek side are clean. The inside teeth will be more difficult, as your dog may resist opening its mouth, but eventually you wi'll be able to brush the inside and outside surfaces of all the teeth. For effective cleaning, brush your dog's teeth a couple of times a week.

 

How to pick the right toothpaste for your dog?

If you want to keep your dog's teeth clean but are worried about the cleaning process, then you a’re not alone. You need to pick a toothpaste advised by your vet as they are usually clinically tested and approved. But most importantly, refrain from using human toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth. It’s because human toothpaste containss fluoride, which is highly toxic to dogs.

 

How to protect and keep your dog’s teeth clean?

 
By using dog wipes

Dental wipes for dogs are designed to be wiped against your dog's teeth to eliminate plaque. They work in a similar way to toothbrushes and are an excellent way to keep your pet's teeth clean. They're generally more convenient to use than a toothbrush and toothpaste.
 

By brushing dog’s teeth

Brushing your dog's teeth may seem goofy, but it's a great method to keep plaque from forming. Unlike humans, dogs do not require daily brushing. Your dog might not enjoy having its teeth brushed at first but making it a habit will help. Brushing should be done using a dog toothbrush or a fingertip toothbrush. You'll also require dog toothpaste. Consult your vet for advice, and then decide what you and your dog prefer.
 

By using chew toys

Dog chews come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and most of them contain teeth-cleaning characteristics. Chewing is a natural way for your dog to clean its teeth and is beneficial to its dental health. Frequent chewing prevents your dog’s teeth from decaying and helps clean its teeth. Cow ears, chicken strips, and bully sticks are excellent chews for keeping your dog healthy and happy.
 

By giving dog dental treats

Dogs adore treats, and dog tooth treats are an excellent way to improve your dog's oral care  and hygiene. These treats are designed to eliminate plaque buildup and typically include chemicals that help you get rid of your dog's breath and clean its mouth. They are considerably more liked by dogs than a toothbrush or tooth wipes, and they keep dogs' mouths clean. These treats are available in a wide range of tastes, forms, and sizes, so you are sure to find something your dog will enjoy.

By going for routine cleanings

Having your dog's teeth professionally cleaned by a veterinarian is probably the smartest way to ensure its dental health. Your veterinarian will be able to determine what is best for your dog's teeth by addressing any problems that even the most devoted dog owner might overlook.


When your pet needs professional help

If your dog won't cooperate with home brushing or if you already see brown tartar stains on its teeth or red and bleeding gums, it's time to turn to your veterinarian for help. The doctor will give your dog general anesthesia and clean the teeth above and below the gum line to remove plaque and tartar. After the cleaning is done, they will be polished to remove microscopic plaque and to make the teeth smooth to discourage plaque from clinging.

Remember, dental care is as important to your pet's health as it is to your own — you owe it to your dog to provide regular tooth care and cleaning.

FAQ on how to care for your dog’s teeth

  1. How should I take care of my dog's teeth?
  2. You can take care of your dog’s teeth in the following ways:

    • Brush your dog’s teeth by using a dog-safe toothpaste and toothbrush
    • Give your dog to chew toys to gnaw on
    • Frequently spritz dog dental sprays
    • Visit the vet for regular dental cleaning

  3. Do dogs really need their teeth cleaned?
  4. Yes! Even dogs develop plaque and tartar on their teeth which is caused by lingering food particles and bacteria. The bacteria then spread to their gums and cause serious inflammation resulting in gingivitis, or worse, teeth loss.

  5. How can I remove plaque off my dog's teeth at home?
  6. Regularly brushing your dog's teeth using a dog toothbrush and a dog-safe toothpaste is the best way to eliminate plaque. You can also remove tartar from your dog's teeth with a finger brushing. But it may take a lot of training for your dog to tolerate using a finger toothbrush at first.

     

  7. How can you reverse tartar buildup in dogs?
  8. Giving your dog a Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) approved dental food that reduces plaque and tartar accumulation through mechanical or chemical ways will help reduce plaque buildup. Tartar formation is considerably slowed by minimizing plaque formation. Brushing or wiping your dog's teeth on a daily basis is recommended.

     

  9. Can you use mouthwash for dogs?
  10. Yes, you can, but you must use a dog-safe mouthwash. It will help to keep bacteria at bay and decrease plaque when used carefully and diluted in your dog's water bowl.

     

  • Choosing the Right Dog Food
    Choosing the Right Dog Food
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    Choosing the Right Dog Food

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    Author: Dr. Diah Pawitri
     

    When visiting the store, dog owners can get overwhelmed by the array of dog food options available, from dry kibble to canned wet food and more. These processed foods may not be appealing to humans, but they contain all the nutrients that dogs need to stay healthy. Like humans, dogs also need a variety of nutrients from their food, not just from meat as their main diet, but also from grains, vegetables, and fruits. This kind of balance is usually weighed by pet food labels in kibbles or wet food in grams for different types of dogs. 
     

    For optimum health, dogs need food that is tailored and customized to their life stages, starting from when they are puppies and all the way into adulthood. Puppies have completely different nutrient needs compared to adult dogs as they are still in their early stages of life. They need enough nutrients to fuel a speedy growth, especially after transitioning away from their mother's milk. Puppies require complete and balanced nutrition with protein to help build their tissues, fats or healthy skin, hair, brain, and vision, carbohydrates for energy, vitamins, minerals, and water.

    The need for balanced nutrients in puppies starts with the mother during pregnancy, followed by lactation and growth. Sufficient nourishment for the mother is pivotal in enhancing the puppies’ growth inside the womb and preparing them for life after birth. Both mother and puppy should receive well-proportioned antioxidants, DHA, and prebiotics to support their health and growth as provided by the IAMS product line, which contains DHA that is essential for puppies' brain development while also supporting the mother's pregnancy and quality of milk produced. 
     

    While puppies need the primary nutrients for growth, adult dog food has a different level of complexity. Adult dog food requires the same make-up of nutrients as puppies do but tailored to their specific needs. Recent research indicates that an adult dog requires at least 10% of its daily calories from protein and at least 5.5% from fat. Adult dogs need quality protein for firm muscles and a healthy immune system. Additionally, an adult diet can contain up to 50% carbohydrates, with fiber ranging from 2.5 to 4.5%. There is no specific prescribed amount of fibre for adult dog consumption daily, however, it is still one of the most important components in dog food to address constipation and support a healthy weight.
     

    Adult dogs in their prime also require a balance in antioxidants to reduce systemic inflammation and restore active muscles. They should receive Vitamin E and C to support their immune system, joint health, and prevent inflammation. As they grow older, they may be exposed to different diseases from diabetes to cancers, which can be prevented by polyphenols.  Parents to adult dogs must acknowledge the most suitable food for their loved one that is comprised of the right amount of nutrients and can look to the IAMS line as they are formulated to support healthy bones and joint health, scientifically proven for healthy digestion with a good fibre and prebiotic blend, as well as antioxidants for a strong immune system.
     

    Besides life stage, balanced nutrition should be adjusted to their breed, which give insight to different factors like weight, mouth size, and energy level. This will then determine the type of kibble and food given. Smaller breeds tend to be more active, requiring the same essential nutrients and prebiotics for a healthy body as well as smaller-sized kibble designed specifically for their smaller mouths. As smaller dogs relatively have a high metabolism, higher levels of protein, fat, and essential fatty acids like omega 3 and omega 6 are some of the important nutrients that should be available in their food. On the other hand, larger breeds require foods that are lower in fat and calories, contain slightly lower levels of calcium and phosphorus, and have a specific balance of calcium-to-phosphorus ratio to support stronger bones and muscles.  Owners can look to products like the small breed line from IAMS, containing 7 essential nutrients to build strong muscles, support their tiny immune system while protecting their healthy skin and coat, and the product line for adults for large breeds.
     

    Dog parents must acknowledge and understand the unique needs, life stage and characteristics in their dog to choose the right dog food so their furry ones can grow into their healthiest selves. Make sure to visit your vet regularly to check these components as well!