A very common question in the pet field has to do with the cleaning of a puppy’s teeth. Like people, puppies need to have good oral hygiene. This is important for many reasons other than to prevent bad puppy breath. Over time, animals develop tartar and plaque on their teeth just like we do. Tartar and plaque are formed by food particles and bacteria which sit on the pup’s teeth and gums. When this builds up, it can cause gum inflammation, which can affect the bone around the roots of their teeth. If left untreated, your pup could experience pain and discomfort as well as more severe health issues down the road.
It is estimated that 80% of dogs develop some degree of periodontal disease by the age of two. One of the dangers of this is the bacteria in their mouth can make its way into your pup’s bloodstream and end up in places like his kidneys or heart, which can turn into something serious very quickly.
Many veterinarians suggest your puppy’s teeth get brushed a minimum of three times every week. Although this will take some practice to perfect, you and your pup will fall into a good routine if brushing is done consistently. The more you do this, the easier and quicker it will get.
Some puppy owners use an actual puppy toothbrush, while others use human toothbrushes. The key is making sure the toothbrush has soft bristles, which will prevent your puppy from experiencing gum discomfort during brushing.
Here are some tips which may help you in the puppy brushing process.
- Select a calm time and room for brushing. It is generally better to do this one-on-one with your pup to prevent distractions.
- Find a room in your home where the lighting is good. You want to be able to see into your pup’s mouth to make sure all of his teeth have been properly brushed.
- Introduce dog toothpaste to him prior to brushing. Start by showing your dog the toothpaste and letting him smell it and lick it from your finger.
- Begin by brushing his top teeth. While doing this, you will need to gently hold his upper lip.
- Finish by brushing his bottom teeth. While brushing his bottom teeth, you will need to hold his lower lip.
- Throughout the brushing process, reassure and verbally praise your puppy. Soft petting of his head is also a good way to reassure him that you are happy with him and that he’s doing a good job.
If you adopted your puppy from a reputable puppy adoption store that has a team of puppy care specialists, utilize their knowledge, and contact them with questions or concerns. These specially trained members of the puppy store will be more than happy to go over the toothbrushing process with you.