Those little puppy teeth are super cute – and super sharp! While your frisky little pet will eventually lose their baby teeth, just like kids, in order to make room for their adult teeth, it’s still important to keep up with pet dental care to ensure quality oral health for your pet, from toddlerhood through old age.
1. Train your puppy to tolerate the toothbrush.
Little kids don’t like having their teeth brushed most of the time, but developing an oral hygiene routine means they begrudgingly come to accept the inevitable. And your puppy will too. Good oral health care begins from puppyhood. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” became a saying because it’s mostly true, so start early with pet dental care.
2. Learn how to brush your puppy’s teeth.
Some pet owners don’t brush their puppy’s teeth because they simply don’t know how to do it. Ask your vet for a tutorial on cleaning your puppy’s chompers, or make an appointment to get a hands-on demonstration. You’ll want to maintain regular professional oral health care appointments for your pet anyway. Humans see the dentist every six months – pets need regular cleanings too.
3. Do the best you can.
Brushing your puppy’s teeth even a little bit is better than nothing at all. You don’t have to spend two minutes brushing every day. Aim for once or twice a week – more if your vet recommends it – and some of that early plaque will get dislodged before it can do serious damage.
4. Take your pet’s dental care responsibility seriously.
Groomers often offer pet dental care as part of their grooming treatment. This is great. But don’t think that this infrequent cleaning is enough to keep your puppy’s teeth healthy. It’s still important to keep up with cleanings on your own and professional dental cleanings from your vet.
5. Choose your tools wisely.
There is of course a wide market of pet dental care products, but sometimes all you need is a soft-bristled baby toothbrush. Even a gauze sponge can get the job done well – and give you a better grip on cleaning those little teeth – especially for the really squirmy puppies. Ask your vet for advice about the best tooth cleaning tools for your puppy.
6. Use toothpaste.
Never pull out the Crest from your medicine cabinet to put on your puppy’s brush. The ingredients could be harmful to your pet. Your vet will have recommendations about the best product to clean your puppy’s teeth. Often baking soda does the trick, but there are also flavored pet toothpastes that make this task far more appealing (yes, we’re talking poultry flavor).
7. Your dog’s food won’t get the job done.
Sure, you can give your dog certain snacks and foods that promise to help clean their teeth, but you can’t leave the job up to these products alone, especially when many dogs gulp rather than chew their food. Actual brushing and removal of plaque is essential to help your puppy maintain good oral health and good overall health.
8. Be patient.
Your dog is unlikely to love their first tooth brushing session. Do your best to be patient, stay positive, and offer encouragement. Don’t get frustrated! Your dog will recognize your unhappiness. Just try again the next day until you’ve developed a routine that you both look forward to – or can at least tolerate for the sake of your puppy’s health and happiness.
Pet dental care is critical to overall good pet health. Removing tartar and plaque helps prevent the incredibly painful periodontal disease, which can also invade the bloodstream and allow bacteria to travel through the bloodstream and infect the heart. Start your puppy off right with early oral health care at home and from your vet. Questions about brushing your dog’s teeth? Northpointe Veterinary Hospital is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.