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Why and how to brush your dog's teeth?

It is essential to take care of your dog's oral hygiene because it helps to prevent many diseases. It is also essential to avoid pushing him away because of his pestilential breath, a sign that something is wrong. Let's take a look at the best way to brush your dog's teeth, the frequency to respect, and the risks incurred by the dog if his teeth are neglected.

Brushing your dog's teeth: what is the use?

The regular use of a soft toothbrush and a specific toothpaste or special dog toothpaste is very useful for the animal to have a good breath. We take advantage of this moment to inspect the state of his teeth and gums. Brushing also helps to remove food debris that gets between the teeth and to fight against dental plaque.

Plaque is a substance made up of toxins and bacterial residues. Plaque builds up insidiously, day after day, without brushing. And if we don't take care of it, it becomes mineralized and turns into tartar which eventually covers the dog's teeth. The problem is that it is impossible to remove this tartar with a simple toothbrush. Only the veterinarian can remove it during a scaling session.

That's why we recommend anticipating it with a perfect oral hygiene. Twice a week is a minimum, but ideally, the dog's teeth should be brushed once a day.

Poor oral hygiene in dogs: health risks

Poorly maintained teeth become yellow, which is not very aesthetic. Moreover, bad breath is another sign that should alert the owner. It is indeed necessary to know that it is following a lack of care that the periodontal disease settles. The signs are recognizable, namely:
  • Tartar on the teeth,
  • A nauseating breath,
  • An important salivation,
  • A retraction of the gums,
  • Swelling of the gums that become red,
  • Teeth that are loosening.
A dog presenting these signs is certainly affected by a periodontal disease whose consequences on its health can be serious. It is indeed an infectious disease whose origin is a proliferation of bacteria due to a bad oral hygiene. The supporting tissues of the teeth - the periodontium - are affected. This includes the gums, the alveolar ligaments as well as the alveolar bone, cementum, etc. The damage can be considerable on the teeth but not only.

Indeed, a dog suffering from periodontitis can present, following the migration of bacteria in his body:
  • An abscess,
  • A fracture of the jaw,
  • An infection of the ORL sphere,
  • A septicemia,
  • An infection at the level of a cardiac valve,
  • A joint disease.
Some serious health problems caused by periodontal disease are unfortunately irreversible.

The best way to brush your dog's teeth

In order for the dog to accept that his owner brushes his teeth without flinching, it is essential to get him used to this type of ritual as early as possible, i.e. when he is still a puppy. But it often happens that we adopt an adult dog who has never seen a toothbrush in his life. This can be a daunting task, and it's best to do it right to avoid getting bitten.

The safest method is to :
  • Place one hand firmly on the dog's muzzle and lift one whisker,
  • Brush the exposed teeth thoroughly with the brush and a dog-friendly toothpaste (never use human toothpaste),
  • Congratulate the dog,
  • Lift the other lip and repeat the operation.
  • Compliment the animal again when the session is over.
You can then give him special kibbles as a treat to prevent tartar from appearing. They are a complement to brushing.

It is important to note that toothpaste specially designed for dogs does not present any risk of toxicity. In other words, the dog can swallow it without any problem. In addition, tooth brushing can be complemented with special sticks or a buffalo skin dental stick that the animal can chew at leisure. While having fun, it eliminates part of the dental plaque.

In addition to brushing your dog's teeth very frequently, it is in your best interest to have your dog's teeth checked regularly by a specialist in animal dentistry. At the slightest suspicion of periodontal disease, the professional can perform an investigation by means of complementary examinations. This allows for an early diagnosis and therefore, to treat the dog before it is too late.