Archive for February, 2011

Brushing Teeth and Dog Mom Guilt

Posted on February 6, 2011. Filed under: 1. Daily Life, 4. Guest Bloggers | Tags: , , , |

I admit it, I don’t brush the teeth of my two dogs. It’s just another one of those things inflicting dog parenting guilt on me. Although I love and adore my furry kids and spend as much time as I can with them, there’s always a certain amount of guilt associated with perhaps not taking them on enough walks;  feeding them dinner late; brushing their hair every day and brushing their teeth. I’ve tried to brush their teeth, but for some reason they just don’t like me sticking a long plastic instrument into their mouths and swirling it around.

So when I got this reminder from the CEO of Camp Bow Wow, Heidi Ganahl, that this month is National Pet Dental Health Month, I thought it was appropriate to share and perhaps provide some new motivation to get out those doggie tooth brushes.   -Nina Jimenez

How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
A dental routine is not only beneficial for human health; it can also save Fido’s life. Without brushing, plaque buildup can put your dog at risk for gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath.  In severe cases, infection can spread to your pup’s heart, kidneys and liver, causing life-threatening conditions.

1.  Buy The Right Tools: The first step to brushing your dog’s teeth is finding the right dental equipment. Make sure you purchase a dog toothbrush that is angled and soft. For large breeds, stick to longer toothbrushes so you reach difficult places. A finger brush is easier to use on smaller animals. Remember to never use human toothpaste on dogs because it contains ingredients that can harm Fido’s stomach. There are many dog-friendly toothpaste options that come in fun flavors like peanut butter, beef or chicken.

2.  It’s All About Timing: It’s important to approach your dog when it is relaxed and in a good mood. Don’t force contact, because the pup will rebel against you.

3. Positioning: Make sure your dog is comfortable before beginning. Avoid standing above your dog in a threatening way. Instead, get on the same level and sit in front of your pet.

4. Prep the Gums: Test your dog’s anxiety level and willingness to have his mouth touched. Gently rub your finger on the top row of teeth and gums. You may have to repeat this step a few times before proceeding.

5. Taste Test:  Place a dot of the dog toothpaste on your finger and have Fido lick it off. The key here is to find a flavor that tastes like a treat. This will make brushing a lot easier.

6.  Master the Technique: Start by opening your dog’s upper lip and brush along the gum line with a 45-degree angle. Continue to brush the rest of the teeth in a circular motion. Brush a few teeth at a time and focus on the plaque. Keep your dog calm throughout the process by gently patting his head and talking in a soothing voice.

7.  Reward Your Dog: Congratulate Fido for being a good sport with a treat, special attention or extra playtime.

8.   Establish a routine: Although daily brushing is ideal, three times a week is a good start. Remember that dental hygiene doesn’t end with brushing. Special treats were created to fight plaque buildup. Visit your veterinarian to determine the right routine for your pup.

-Heidi Ganahl, Camp Bow Wow

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