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Dog Pet Health: How to Keep Your Dog's Teeth Clean

By    |   Monday, 12 January 2015 04:52 PM

It’s important to keep your dog’s teeth clean, not only to avoid dental issues, but because your pet’s health can be affected by problems that start in its mouth.

Although dogs aren’t as susceptible to cavities as people are, dental problems can cause potentially life-threatening health issues. Infections that start in the mouth and teeth can cause heart, liver, and kidney concerns.

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But for people who may have problems getting their dog to heel, brushing a dog's teeth can seem overwhelming. Dog trainer Cesar Millan offers the following tips on his website:

• The best dog toothbrush is one that is double-headed and tilts at a 45-degree angle.
• Start when the dog is young; puppies that are used to having their teeth brushed will be more amenable about the process as they age.
• Choose the right toothpaste, and do not use one that’s made for people. Fluoride, usually in people pastes, is toxic to dogs. Pet stores sell brands specially made for your canine friend.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends that you brush your dog’s teeth daily, just as you do your own. However, the goal is to at least do it several times a week.

The ASPCA and Millan recommend that you start slowly to allow your dog to adapt to the process. If you don’t get all of your pet’s teeth brushed on the first few tries, that’s fine. The ASPCA recommended starting by putting your fingers in your dog’s mouth to get him used to what will happen. Put something good – like peanut butter – on your fingers and then let him lick them and rub his teeth and gums.

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“As you do, also lift his lips as you might when brushing. Repeat this exercise twice a day for two or three days. Occasionally use your dog’s toothpaste on your finger so he gets used to its smell and taste,” the ASPCA website said.

The ASPCA site also gives several steps, including tasty treats that will win your dog over to the whole toothbrushing process, that will let your dog adapt to opening his mouth for you.

Once your dog has adjusted to the idea and is comfortable with having a toothbrush and toothpaste in his mouth, it shouldn’t take long to make sure your dog’s teeth stay healthy.

Millan also recommended giving your dog the treats and chew toys that are designed to help your dog’s teeth and gums. However, his website stressed that those treats aren’t really enough to completely clean your pet’s teeth.

Signs that your dog should see a veterinarian about possible problems — and Millan said even if you’re not brushing your dog’s teeth to look in his or her mouth weekly — include bad breath, pawing at the mouth, drooling, misaligned or missing teeth, and gum problems.

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It's important to keep your dog's teeth clean, not only to avoid dental issues, but because your pet's health can be affected by problems that start in its mouth.
dog, pet, health, teeth, clean
Monday, 12 January 2015 04:52 PM
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