Celebrity vet Steve Leonard is hosting an online masterclass to help dog owners brush up on their toothbrushing after a new survey reveals that 95% of Brits are not visiting their vets for bi-annual dental checks as recommended – and 30% of Brits have never even brushed their dogs’ teeth. This despite research showing that 87% of dogs aged three years and over suffer from periodontal disease.

The research, commissioned by natural dog food makers Forthglade, also revealed that more than half of owners (53%) said they avoid brushing their dog’s teeth as they believe their dog “doesn’t like it”.

Steve Leonard says, “I will be hosting an exclusive Dog Dental Masterclass on Tuesday 26th April, to give 500 dog owners the opportunity to have a virtual session with me, to learn all about canine dental care and listen to my tips and tricks for making the process easier.”

If you can’t do the masterclass, Steve Leonard has provided five top tips for improving your dogs’ dental care, and making toothbrushing easier at home to prevent future health issues.

Steve says, “Improved education around dog dental care is essential to help dog owners ensure they’re doing all they can do support their dog’s health and wellbeing. We know how much Brits love their dogs, and often it’s simply a lack of awareness that leads to the need to remove teeth and often lots at one time. It’s not just older dogs but younger dogs too who are affected terribly by periodontal disease.

“As the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure, so a regular six-monthly dental check-up with a local vet is a great way of keeping things on track. Regularly toothbrushing and then treating them with healthy dental sticks can have a real impact in better dental care.”

Here are Steve’s five top tips for improving your dogs’ dental care:

  1. Set up the environment

“Choosing the right environment is key. While we usually brush our own teeth in the bathroom, your dog may not be as comfortable or familiar in this room, so using the bathroom space may not set you up for success when it comes to starting your dog’s oral hygiene journey. Choose an environment your dog enjoys spending time in, with as much space as possible and an easy exit route should they start to feel overwhelmed or a little anxious.”

  1. Start them young

“Teaching dogs to enjoy teeth brushing works most effectively when we start it off in puppyhood. Puppies shouldn’t have built any fears of their mouth being looked in – so they it’s an ideal time to introduce brushing very slowly when they are young, playful and curious, creating a routine they become relaxed about. However, that being said, there’s no such thing as “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” – any dog, with careful and considerate support, can be taught to tolerate toothcare and feel relaxed about being handled.”

  1. Add something fun in between

“When you start to increase the length of your tooth brushing sessions, try to mix things up by throwing in a game or asking for a favourite trick in between each section of brushing. Tricks or games that allow your dog to move around are great for helping them to relieve any tension they might be feeling during the brushing process.”

  1. Start slow

“Setting yourself the goal of brushing all of your dog’s teeth in one session may be a little ambitious to begin with. It’s a good idea to break it up into shorter sessions, just like you might do with grooming. Try to break it down by brushing a few teeth at a time. Initially, it might take you a couple of weeks to have covered the whole mouth area, but as your dog grows in confidence, you’ll be able to brush larger areas during each session.”

A finger brush, or even a bare finger, is a good starting point to introducing toothbrushing
  1. Choose your tool

“While a standard dog toothbrush might be easier to use in the long run, starting with a finger toothbrush (or even just your bare finger) can help your dog get used to the brushing sensation or process. Begin by having a little of their favourite wet food on your finger and allow your dog to start licking it. As they enjoy the flavour, slide your finger briefly up under their jowel to the gum area and then back into starting position for more licks. Over time, build up to sliding your finger around half of their top or lower gum line before allowing them to resume the treat licking. When they’re comfortable with this, then add in your finger toothbrush, before eventually moving over to a standard brush.”

To sign up for Steve Leonard’s exclusive Dog Dental Masterclass on Tuesday 26th April, at 12:30pm, please follow this link to register your email address and confirm your place.




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