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Your Dog's Dental Health & Teeth Brushing

Feb 20, 2008
Your dog's dental care is an important part of a healthy and longer life. If your dog isn't a rawhide bone chewer, eats a lot of soft food or just has tarter buildup, brushing your dog's teeth is probably a good idea. It's been shown that an unhealthy mouth can lead to other physical problems and brushing your dog's teeth is simply a training process.

If you're dog doesn't chew regularly on carrots or other teeth cleaning treats and toys, then the nasty tarter and gingivitis demons are moving in. Then there's gum disease, tooth loss, pain and really raunchy breath. It's all ugly.

Buy your dog a tooth brush (the finger kind is easiest) with flavored doggie toothpaste. Don't use human paste... These will only create mouth and gum problems and could make your dog really sick.

To begin the training, just sit with your dog and gently rub their outside cheeks with your finger for a few seconds or minutes depending on how your dog responds. It's best to do this when your dog is relaxed and more likely to have little objection. Have these rubbing sessions 2, 3, or 4 times. Every dog is different. Dalai Lama dog only needs 2 or 3 rubbing sessions and hurricane, frantic or anxious dog needs 5, 6 or 7 sessions. Whatever it is, it's fine. Be sure to praise your dog after they have allowed this rubbing session whether it's lasted 3 seconds or 3 minutes. .

Once your dog is comfortable with the outside lip rubbing, put a little doggie toothpaste on your finger and let them take a taste. Usually they like it. Fortunately, you've purchased the flavored paste because you're an informed human. Once your dog has lapped up the toothpaste, praise them for a job well done. Lots of petting and positive reinforcement is how training works.

Your next session will be with the toothbrush and toothpaste together. Put a little dog toothpaste on the toothbrush and gently rub 1-2 teeth in a very slow circular motion (be sure to include the gum area). Be very gentle. Remember this is new and you're still in training. Be sure to praise again with lots of positive reinforcement. Continue to brush daily adding 1-2 teeth each session.

It's very important to pay close attention to your dogs energy while tooth brush training. Stop the brushing session before your dog starts to squirm. This prevents an aversion to the training. Always remember after each session, no matter how long, to praise your dog for doing what you've asked of them.

Over the next several days, continue your training sessions, praising all the time and before you know it, you're brushing all your dog's teeth. Brush for about 30 seconds on each side. You only need to brush the outside of the teeth because dog tarter does not flourish on inside teeth.

Remember to praise and to use positive reinforcement every time you brush your dog's teeth. Even after the training is complete and your dog is a superstar at teeth brushing time. Your dog lives to please you and a loving pat on their head, a chest or belly rub along with a "good boy/goodgirl" brings a smile to their furry canine face.

Good dental hygiene for your dog has been shown to help prolong life and can reduce your Veterinary bills. If you have questions regarding your dog's dental health, talk with your Veterinarian or Veterinary Technician.
About the Author
Miss Rae has been a poet & writer since college at UW, class of 1996. Visit her site for all your dog's needs from training programs to nutrition to choosing a vet & books galore. Visit Good Poopy.com.
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