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By: Steve Weber
As dogs age, plaque build-up collects on their teeth. Unless you have been brushing your dog's teeth since he was a puppy, it is likely that he will at least have bad breath and discolored teeth. As soon as you notice this take him to your veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis. If your dog doesn't have bleeding gums, gingivitis or any other periodontal disease which would require professional cleaning and a high-cost bill, thank your lucky stars and begin taking care of his teeth at home.

This procedure can take some time to perfect. Some dogs may take to it quickly and easily, others will more resistant and need plenty of patience and praise. By the way, all of this info applies to cat teeth cleaning too.

The goal is to remove the plaque from their teeth before it's had a chance to mineralize into calculus. It is not true that dry dog food prevents tartar, or that various chews and bones will remove it. The best way to clean your dog's teeth is with daily brushing. There are gels, sprays and dog toothpaste available now, as are toothbrushes for the size of your dog's muzzle. It is important to note that only the outside of the tooth needs brushing, unlike humans as well as when you are cleaning cat teeth also.

Once your dog is relaxed and sitting close to you, put a little gel or toothpaste on your finger, and with the other hand life and pull back his upper lip. Swipe all the teeth quickly and then stop and praise him. Repeat this on the lower lip and also the other side. This is best done after his last drink for the evening. When you feel your dog is comfortable with this new habit, introduce the soft brush and gently clean one or two teeth in a circular motion, making sure the bristles get as far under the gum-line as possible. If your dog is reluctant to allow the toothbrush into his mouth, try a finger brush. It is important to use a brush in order to give the gel or toothpaste the best chance to work with his saliva and break down the plaque.

Frequent brushing followed by praise and a play time will become quality time. Your dog will look forward to the cleaning and this new habit will benefit you both. Periodontal disease can spread harmful bacteria to different parts of his body if neglected, and will cause major ill-health. You wouldn't want this for your best buddy.


How to brush dog teeth is detailed more on our website, Cactus Canyon. We offer tips and advice for how to correctly clean canine teeth safely.
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