Our pets are like family members and we want the very best for them.  We choose their food carefully, take them out for exercise and play with them, but do we regularly brush their teeth?

February is National Pet Dental Month as well as Responsible Pet Owners Month, so it’s the perfect time to look at why your dog’s teeth need to be brushed.

Veterinarians estimate that almost 85% of dogs over age 5 have periodontal disease.  98% of dogs with bad breath are suffering from periodontal disease as a result of plaque buildup.  Is your dog one of them?

Why Periodontal Disease is Dangerous For Your Dog

  • Particles of food in his mouth combine with bacteria and form plaque.  20160125_114621-1-2
  • Plaque will form tarter on his gum line.
  • Tarter will cause inflamed gums.
  • Inflamed gums leads to severe pain, tooth loss, abscesses in his mouth and bacterial infections.
  • Bacterial infections can spread through his bloodstream to his kidneys, liver, heart, and brain.
  • Advanced dental disease hurts and it makes your pet feel sick!

Here’s the good news.  Periodontal disease is 100% preventable!  So what can you do to ensure good dental health for your dog?  20160125_114556-1-2

  1.  Make an appointment with your vet to have your dog’s dental health evaluated.
  2. If you have never brushed your dog’s teeth before, there are many articles and videos online that can help you.  Here’s one to get you started  www.dogingtonpost.com/how-brush-your-dogs-teeth-2/.
  3. Brush on a regular basis.  Daily is ideal, but 3-4 times per week will still make a big difference.
  4. Use toothpaste made for dogs!  Human toothpaste contains fluoride which can be poisonous to dogs.  Also human toothpaste is not meant to be swallowed and dogs will swallow it!
  5. There are several types of toothbrushes made especially for dogs.  Make sure the one you choose has soft bristles and fits well in your dog’s mouth.

dog toothbrushes These are the toothbrushes we use.  I like that they have different sized soft bristles on each end.  I use the smaller end for Jojo and the larger end for Eli.  They are from Cloud 9 and I bought them on Amazon.

toothpaste 3Eli and Jojo both LOVE this toothpaste!  It is poultry flavored and they literally jump around when they see me get it out.  It is Sentry Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs in Poultry flavor and made in the USA!

Brushing your dog’s teeth shouldn’t take more than 1-2 minutes.  I concentrate on the upper and lower outside of the teeth because the dog’s tongue motions seem to be effective at reducing the plaque accumulations on the inside of the teeth.

If your dog could talk, he would say, “Please brush my teeth to keep me healthy”.  This month would be a great time to get started on better dental health for your furry loved one!

Do you have a particular dog toothpaste that your dog loves?  We’d like to hear from you in the comment section below.