Your Canines Canines

The Resource for Everything About Dogs

Your Canines Canines

by Jed Yorkshire

OK, I?ll admit, I can think of a few thousand things I?d rather be doing than brushing my dog?s teeth on a sunny Saturday afternoon. After all, it?s not one of Arty?s favorite pastimes, either ? and there is something disturbing about seeing an annoyed dog foaming at the mouth (even if it?s just doggie toothpaste).

Still, it has to be done. Your four-legged friend needs his teeth so he can eat, and to protect and express himself, so it's important to keep the teeth he's got in good shape.

If you?ve never brushed your canine?s canines before, here are some tips that?ll make the whole process a lot easier:

? Get your dog used to the idea. Before stuffing a toothbrush in his mouth, gently use your finger to massage your dog?s lips in a circular motion for 30 to 60 seconds once or twice a day. Gradually move your fingers into his mouth until you can massage his gums and teeth. (If your dog?s anything like Arty, this could take weeks, so be patient.)

? Introduce a toothbrush. A soft child's toothbrush, a dog's toothbrush or even a washcloth or piece of gauze will work. Use ONLY toothpaste specifically made for dogs (PETCO has some meat-flavored stuff Arty loves). Never use human toothpaste ? it will upset your dog's stomach if he swallows it.

? Try brushing just a few teeth at first. Over time, move up to the entire mouth. Focus brushing on the outer tooth surfaces, since that?s where most of the tartar buildup will be.

? It?s best to brush daily if possible. But even if you only do it once or twice a week, you?ll still be ahead of the game.

If you can?t (or won?t) brush your pooch?s teeth, at least give him lots of specially formulated dental treats, enzyme-enhanced chews or dental toys to help keep tartar and gingivitis away. You can also take him to the vet periodically for full cleanings.

Jed Yorkshire is a retired teacher and pet enthusiast who writes about canine health topics, specialty breeds, animal training and grooming. An avid pet lover and breeder, he owns four beautiful Giant Schnauzers. Yorkshire also works as a private pet behavior consultant.

Jed Yorkshire - EzineArticles Expert Author

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