If you are like a lot of pet owners, you’re probably wondering whether or not it’s really necessary to do regular dog teeth cleaning. Maybe you have considered doing it yourself as opposed to taking your dog to your veterinarian in order to have it done, as this can save a great deal of money. Perhaps you’re still on the fence about doing it at all, especially if you were raised around dogs for the majority of your life and you are aged 40 years or older. The reason your age might come into play here is that the idea of cleaning a dog’s teeth didn’t really start coming into play until more recent years, say in the last 10 to 15 years. Back in the 1970s, people would probably have thought you were crazy for cleaning your dog’s teeth. These days, the potential health benefits of doing so have become much more prevalent. Now that people have a better understanding of the importance of dog dental cleaning, many people realize that it’s something that should be done with some level of consistency. That said, not everyone is convinced. If you have a lot of questions about the topic, you have fortunately come to the right place.
Do You Really Need To Clean Your Dog’s Teeth?
In short, you really do. It has long been understood that healthy teeth and gums promote an overall healthier body. For example, human beings have a tendency to be healthier when they have good oral health. In fact, poor oral health provides a direct portal to the bloodstream which can then have an adverse impact on other areas of the body, especially the heart. In this particular case, dogs are not really all that different from people. A dog that has very poor oral health is more likely to get periodontal disease and other infections throughout its body. They are more likely to experience other diseases. At times, those diseases can shorten their lifespan, especially if they end up getting an infection that impacts the heart or other vital organs.
In addition, dogs rely on their teeth in order to eat a healthy diet, play, and even relieve stress. Without good oral health, your dog may not be able to eat the same diet that he would otherwise be eating. This could also have an adverse impact on his health. By the same token, a dog that is unable to play or relieve stress by chewing on a favorite toy without experiencing pain may become more anxious about things in general. If that’s not enough to convince you that your dog’s oral health is important, consider the fact that unhealthy teeth could cause a lot of pain. If you’ve ever had a toothache, you know how miserable it can be. Do you really want your dog to go through that on a daily basis? There isn’t a dog owner in the world that truly loves their dog who wants to see them in pain.
Should Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth Be Done By A Professional?
Unfortunately, this isn’t a question that can be answered across the board. In reality, it is different for every dog as well as every dog owner. There is no doubt that your veterinarian can effectively clean your dog’s teeth. In fact, it’s a good idea to make this part of your dog’s annual exam, especially if deep cleaning that involves anesthesia is required. There is no way that you can do that yourself. This type of deep cleaning must be done in a veterinarian’s office at the hands of a skilled professional. That said, it doesn’t mean that you can’t effectively keep your dog’s teeth clean throughout the year on your own, provided that you’re willing to do it and your dog is willing to allow it. Keep this in mind. It’s more important than ever to adequately address your dog’s oral health with your veterinarian if you don’t routinely clean your dog’s teeth at home.
How Do You Clean Your Dog’s Teeth On Your Own?
Fortunately, it’s not as hard as you might think. There are a couple of different ways that you can go about effectively cleaning your dog’s teeth. The first is to use specially made toothpaste and toothbrushes to get the job done. Fortunately, the toothpaste used for dogs doesn’t taste like that used for human beings. In fact, they make dog toothpaste that tastes like beef, liver, chicken, and even fish. Typically, the dogs love it and can’t get enough of it. That makes it easier for you to get their teeth brushed quite thoroughly. As opposed to a traditional toothbrush like a person would use, you can buy specially made toothbrushes just for dogs that fit on your finger and essentially massage the dog’s gums. You put a little bit of toothpaste specially made for dogs on that device and then work it around your dog’s mouth for anywhere from three to five minutes. If you do this three or even four times a week, your dog’s oral health is likely to improve a great deal.
When you’re not actively brushing your dog’s teeth, you can also use dog treats that are specially made to remove plaque and tartar to keep teeth clean. These can be found at any pet food store for a few dollars per bag. Giving your dog just one of these treats per day is often enough to keep their teeth relatively healthy, especially if you are actively brushing your dog’s teeth several times a week.
What if Your Dog Can’t or Won’t Tolerate It?
If your dog is older and is in a great deal of pain, it may not be possible for him to tolerate being handled in this manner. If that’s the case, having his teeth routinely checked and cleaned by a veterinarian takes on a whole new level of importance. That said, your veterinarian may not see any reason to put undue stress on an older dog, either. It’s best that you and your veterinarian work together in cases like these in order to decide what is best for your dog. If you have any questions about the way that your veterinarian has decided to handle things, you can always get a second opinion.
What should you do if you have a dog that simply will not tolerate it because he doesn’t like it and he won’t let you anywhere near him brush his teeth? Typically, these types of behavioral issues are things that can be worked out in a standard obedience class. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to get your dog enrolled in one of these classes as young as possible. Knowing how to socialize a dog when it comes to the grooming process and tools does a huge help too. This also stops them from developing habits from when they are younger that carry over into adulthood. In short, any bad habits that are developed when they are puppies may become significant issues when they are older, bigger, and stronger. That said, it is also possible to effectively train an adult dog that has never been trained before and has all sorts of behavioral issues. It requires working with a professional that knows what they’re doing in these types of situations and having the patience to deal with it yourself. The truth is, some shelter dogs have never seen an obedience class in their lives and many of them have behavioral issues because of horrible things that have happened to them in the past. They may not like you trying to brush their teeth, trim their nails or even brush their fur. These are all things that can be worked through with patience, time, and love. Many people will find that the rewards of putting in the time and effort to deal with a dog like this far outweigh any possible drawbacks.
Can You Use Human Toothpaste For Dog Teeth Cleaning?
Under no circumstances should you use toothpaste for human beings when you brush your dog’s teeth. The toothpaste that is manufactured for human beings contains a substance called fluoride and it is extremely harmful to canines . If you are going to brush your dog’s teeth, make sure that you are using toothpaste that is designed specifically for dogs. While everyone is trying to save money wherever they can, it is imperative that you don’t cut corners here. Dogs have a very different metabolism from human beings. They can’t always process everything the same way a person would and this is one of those cases. You certainly don’t want to bring any harm to your dog by doing something that should be helping him, so make sure that you keep the toothpaste for human beings well out of his reach. Whatever you do, don’t use it to brush his teeth.
At first, you might feel a bit silly trying to brush your dog’s teeth, especially if you were brought up with the idea that dogs don’t need to have their teeth brushed at all. By the way, most people that were brought up that way were also brought up with the idea that dogs should never be allowed inside the house. Chances are, your dog not only lives in the house but takes up residence on your bed, your couch and anywhere else he decides to roam. Once you realize that fact, it’s a lot easier to get past the idea of feeling silly when you brush your dog’s teeth. If that doesn’t work, think about the potential health benefits associated with it. The idea that you might be able to spend additional years with your beloved pet as a direct result of your efforts should be enough to convince you to do it. If you’re still uncertain, consider reading through some of the most frequently asked questions that are listed below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it worth getting your dog’s teeth cleaned?
There is no question that it is indeed worth it, provided that your dog is healthy enough to handle the anesthesia that is associated with a professional cleaning. This is something that has to be handled by your veterinarian. Having your dog’s teeth cleaned is different from brushing his teeth. It’s something that you cannot do on your own. The only time that your veterinarian might recommend that you refrain from having his teeth cleaned is in situations where he may not be able to handle the anesthesia. Examples include older dogs and dogs with pre-existing medical conditions which make it dangerous to put them under anesthesia unless absolutely necessary. Aside from these two situations, it’s always a good idea to have your dog’s teeth cleaned professionally at least once a year.
How can I get plaque off my dog’s teeth?
Effectively removing plaque from your dog’s teeth involves regular rushing, typically three to four times per week as previously discussed. In addition, it really is a good idea to purchase those dental chews and give your dog one of those each day. A lot of people think that it’s nothing more than a marketing gimmick so companies that make dog treats can make even more money. The truth is, these treats are specifically designed to help remove plaque as your dog chews on them. They’re effective and the process couldn’t be any easier. All you have to do is give your dog one of these treats a day and let him do the rest.
Do dogs’ teeth need to be professionally cleaned?
Although this topic has already been covered extensively, it’s important enough to revisit it. If your dog is relatively young and otherwise healthy, professional teeth cleaning should be done at least annually. There are times when it might be necessary to have additional dental work done, depending on your dog’s oral health. This is something that you can work directly with your veterinarian on. The only time that your dog’s teeth should not be professionally cleaned is when doing so might pose a bigger danger to him than not doing it. As previously discussed, that would involve times when it might be dangerous to put him under general anesthesia.
Are teeth cleaning harmful to dogs?
A lot of people are fearful about having their dog’s teeth professionally cleaned because they don’t like the idea of having to put their dog under general anesthesia. The thing is, it can cause far more harm to your dog to refrain from having his teeth cleaned than it does to do it at least annually. Over time, the plaque that builds up can cause a lot of issues, including gum disease and tooth loss. As already discussed, this can provide a direct route to your dog’s bloodstream, thereby allowing infections to run rampant throughout his body. If that occurs and the infection impacts vital organs, it may be all but impossible to save him. It’s much better to simply get his teeth cleaned instead.