If you have a dog, it could be suffering from periodontal gum disease. Studies show that about 70% of all dogs will have gum disease by the time they turn two years old. That's a frightening statistic, especially since your dog can't tell you when it's having dental problems.
Luckily, with proper dental care, you can reduce your dog's chances of developing periodontal gum disease. Brushing is one way to protect your dog's teeth and gums. If you're not sure how to go about brushing your dog's teeth, here are some step-by-step instructions to help get you started.
Start Off Slowly
If you've never brushed your dog's teeth before, you don't want to just shove a toothbrush in its mouth. Your dog probably won't be very cooperative if you try that. Instead, start out slowly by getting your dog used to having its mouth touched. Sit down with your dog and begin by gently touching your dog's muzzle. Slowly open your dog's mouth using one finger. Continue doing this each day until you can rub your dog's gums without causing distress.
Move On to Gauze
Once your dog will allow you to rub its gums with your finger, you can add some medical gauze. Fold a small amount of gauze into a square and repeat the procedure you've been using to rub its gums. Be sure to rub the gauze over your dog's teeth and gums for several minutes. Repeat this process several times a week until your dog is used to the gauze.
Introduce the Brush
When your dog is comfortable with the gauze, it will be time to introduce the toothbrush. A soft toothbrush designed for a child will work best for your dog's teeth. The first time you use the brush, you should give your dog a few minutes to get used to it. Remove the brush from the wrapper and allow your dog to smell the brush. Place the brush against the top of your dog's teeth, at the gum line, and brush in a circular motion. Be sure to brush each tooth using the same motion. For best protection, you should brush your dog's teeth several times a week.
See the Vet
While brushing your dog's teeth will help prevent gum disease, it will still need to see the vet for routine dental checkups. In addition, if your dog develops bad breath or begins drooling uncontrollably, you should consult your veterinarian as soon as possible. These could be signs of an underlying dental problem, such as an abscess or infection.
Your dog needs dental care too. Use the instructions provided above to help keep your dog's teeth clean and prevent gum disease. For further assistance, contact local professionals, such as those from Kenmore Veterinary Hospital.