How important is brushing your poodle’s teeth?

One question I’ve been asked many times is how important is brushing your poodle’s teeth and how often should it be done? Actually, the answer is that you should be brushing your poodle’s and all of your dog’s teeth daily.

poodle

Lucy is very comfortable with being touched and having her teeth brushed

Dental care isn’t just for us humans, but it is an important part of a healthy regimen for canines too. Sure, dogs went without teeth brushing for thousands of years and in the wild, they do not have a toothbrush to use. But dogs also suffered the gum disease, loss of teeth and pain of not being able to clean their teeth properly.

The reasons for cleaning your poodle’s teeth are to prevent the tartar and plaque from building up, and to prevent gum disease and gingivitis. These things don’t just affect us, but they can affect our pets too.

Periodontal disease can show up as bad breath in your dog. It’s a sign that the mouth and the teeth and gums are not sufficiently clean, which can result in chronic infection that can bring about serious problems with the heart, liver and kidneys.

The good news is that brushing your dog’s teeth is really very easy. It’s not as involved as taking care of your own teeth. And, you don’t have to floss! It is best if you start your teeth brushing with your poodle when he or she is a puppy. But you can always begin to brush at any point. Here are some tips.

Start brushing gently and introduce the toothpaste first by letting your dog lick a little bit off of your finger. Some dog toothpastes taste good, like they are getting a treat. This will take the fear away, when you introduce the toothbrush next time.

Use a toothpaste specially made for dogs. Don’t use human toothpaste, as it can contain many ingredients such as fluoride and other chemicals that could be toxic to your pet.

There are some toothbrushes made just for dogs. The have to be very soft, which are even softer than a soft brush made for us humans. Talk to your veterinarian and pick one up from the vet’s office. Some people use a piece of gauze and wrap it around a finger and gently rub the teeth.

Try to lift up the the lips to expose the teeth and gums. Don’t pry open the jaw which can cause your pet to struggle and panic.

Don’t be discouraged if your dog doesn’t let you brush. Just try a little bit each day until it becomes easier. Don’t force your dog to allow you to brush it’s teeth if they really fight it. Start gradually and be a little persistent and you will probably find that eventually it becomes a routine that they may even come to enjoy.

Here is a good video about how to brush your dog’s teeth. It talks about all of the various issues you may have and how to deal with them.

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