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Did you brush your dog’s teeth today? What about yesterday or last week?

Just like we brush our own teeth, we have to take measures to keep our dog’s mouths clean. They aren’t immune to periodontal disease and it’s probably more dangerous than you realise. Gingivitis is a bacterial infection that can spread to your dog’s organs and eventually even lead to death.

Oral health is serious business!

So, here are five tips to help you get into a good oral care routine with your dog.

  1. Start early: If at all possible, start your oral care routine when your dog is a puppy. This makes it easier to get your dog used to the process of tooth brushing and/or spraying. It will also help keep plaque away, so you may not have to worry about it turning to tartar or gingivitis. If your dog is older, it’s okay. Simply get started today. Every day that goes by is a day that your dog’s plaque could be hardening into tartar, putting him one step closer to periodontal disease.
  2. Be consistent: You brush your teeth daily and you may still get cavities. If you want to keep your dog from needing extractions, brush her teeth daily too. Dog dental cleanings aren’t quite as simple as human cleanings (if you thought your cleaning was simple). In fact, dog’s have to undergo general anaesthesia before the vet can clean their teeth. The process is relatively safe, but whenever you introduce anaesthesia, there is a small risk of death or other complications. A consistent oral care plan can help keep the professional cleanings to a minimum.
  3. Make it enjoyable: If your dog likes the routine, your life will be a lot easier. Get a toothpaste in a flavour your dog likes to help make the process more pleasurable. Be sure to praise and pet your dog throughout brushings to create a bonding experience you’ll both look forward to each day.
  4. Do more than just brush: Between brushings, give your dog dental chews and spray his mouth with an all-natural dental spray to treat any lingering bacteria. The dental chews will help knock off plaque and tartar and the dental spray will deliver natural antibacterial agents directly to your dog’s teeth.
  5. Check your progress: Get into the habit of checking your dog’s teeth periodically. You can do this during nightly brushings or take a good look every month or so (as long as you’re keeping up with maintenance). Look for signs of plaque, which is a yellowish-white sticky substance that sticks to your dog’s teeth. If you see any plaque, pay special attention to those areas when you brush. Plaque can easily be treated at home. It’s when it becomes tartar and gingivitis that it can be truly problematic.

Taking good care of your dog’s mouth is work, but it is one of the best things you can do to help keep your dog healthy and ensure he lives a long and happy life.

Image: Firpito by Pablo Subjuntivo Ver

This story is a guest submission and does not reflect the views of Dogs Monthly Magazine, always consult a qualified expert.

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