February is Pet Dental Health Month meaning I’ve been hearing an awful lot about us dogs and our teeth. I get my teeth brushed pretty much every other day (I guess the ideal is every day, but my mom can sometimes be forgetful) and while it’s not one of my favorite activities, I don’t really dread it as much as say a nail clipping.
When it comes time for a brushing, my mom first opens my mouth and lips and looks at my teeth and gums. She checks for anything odd, like lumps or sores, and also my gums for any sign of redness or swelling. After that is over, she readies my toothbrush with a little bit of doggy toothpaste.
Peanut butter is my favorite!
Now Prudence, you may be asking yourself, can’t I just use to toothpaste that I use on myself on my dog? While that might seem acceptable, I mean they both do the same job, human toothpaste is not meant to be ingested and since we haven’t quite mastered the whole spitting-in-a-sink thing, dog toothpaste is specifically made to be okay if ingested in small amounts. And there are a lot of different dog specific toothpastes available! My friend Leo has a minty vanilla toothpaste, I have the peanut butter, and I have even seen liver flavored (yum!).
Once the toothpaste is on the toothbrush (there are dog specific toothbrushes, but any soft bristled toothbrush will do. Or those finger brushes work) My teeth are then thoroughly brushed in a circular motion with time spent on the gum line and my back molars where a lot of gunk can accumulate.
It didn’t take me too long to get use to my teeth being brushed. Mom took her time letting me sniff the brush, chew it a bit, taste the toothpaste, and so on. Plus I got a ton of treats in the process so it was tail wags all around. What was a bit more difficult was letting my lip get pulled up and my mouth opened. There was just something I didn’t like about it. So, again there were lots of treats, kisses, and praise when I let mom touch my mouth without yanking my head away. Now I’m completely use to it!
Daily (or every other day) brushings are great, but they are only one step in the process of healthy teeth. I also get a lot of these chewies called Zuke’s Z-Ridge Dental Chews. I know I have mentioned them before, and do you blame me? They are so very good! All the flavors (there are three: carrot, cranberry, and original) have an alfalfa base that naturally scrubs the teeth as it’s chewed. Plus there is nutmeg, clove, fennel and parsley to help freshen stale dog breath.
I’m also soon up for a dental check-up with my doggy doctor, Dr. S. A vet cleaning is the only sure fire way to remove all of the tartar build up on my teeth. These are either done annually or semiannually so you should check with your vet to see which is appropriate for your pooch.
Happy tail wags!