February 20, 2019

4 Reasons You (Really, Truly) Need to Brush Your Dog's Teeth

Did you know that most dogs end up with signs of dental disease by the time they're three years old? One of the single best things you can do to protect your dog's health is to brush his teeth on a daily basis. You know you "need" to brush your dog's teeth, but do you really need to? Like, really? Yes. You really, really do. Here are four great reasons why.

1. Remedy Bad Breath

Puppy breath is one thing, but rank, room-clearing odor? That's something else entirely. If your dog's breath has gone from bad to worse, especially if it's been a marked but gradual shift, it's time to see the vet. Terrible breath is dogs is usually one of the first indicators of a dead tooth or mouth infection, both of which have to be addressed by a professional. Regular brushing keeps the bad breath at bay!

2. Keep Bacteria Out of the Bloodstream

The plaque regular brushing removes from your dog's teeth isn't just unsightly, it can be dangerous! Plaque is a precursor to infection. Once your dog's teeth and gums get infected, it doesn't take long for that infection to travel into his bloodstream. Infected blood can reach internal organs where it spreads the infection further, leading to major complications down the line.

3. Prevent Chronic Pain

No one wants to see their dog in pain, and oral health issues can be very painful. If your dog's tooth gets infected or his gums become inflamed, everything from playing with chew toys to eating breakfast can feel like agony. If there was something you knew you could do to make your dog feel comfortable in his own skin for many years to come, wouldn't you do it? Of course you would! Get out that toothbrush.

4. Save You Money on Tooth Extractions

Tooth extractions are...not cheap. Pulling a dog's teeth involves sedation and general anesthesia, and the surgery can take upwards of an hour. Recovery takes several days and it can be more difficult afterwards for your dog to eat and play normally. If possible, you want to avoid the extensive cost and healing time involved with surgery for your dog. The easiest way to avoid oral surgery is to brush your dog's teeth every day and to schedule regular teeth cleanings with your vet.

Do you know how to brush your dog's teeth properly? It's simple. Remember the habit should form gradually in the beginning and you should expect to work your way up to regular brushing! And if your dog fights you, don't force him. Slow and steady wins the race and you don't want brushing to get in the way of your bond. Start by letting your dog lick a drop of enzymatic toothpaste off your finger. Immediately reward him with a treat! Repeat the next day, but wait a little longer to hand over the treat. Keep the process going, gradually introducing a rubber-bristled finger toothbrush. Once your dog lets you actually brush his teeth, always focus first on the surfaces that face outward toward his lips.

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