Today I am going to tackle a subject that some may consider disgusting, but necessary. Yes, that's right--brushing a dog's teeth.
I always in the past, would laugh off brushing a dog's teeth, until I took Blackie, my dog from my college days to the vet. His teeth were so badly damaged from tooth decay, that he had to have at least three of them extracted. That act itself was incomprehensible to me. Worse yet, dogs are similar to humans and dental infections can adversely affect other parts of the body such as the heart or other vital organs.
Ever since then, I hit the toothbrush aisle in the local pet store and haven't looked back. They carry toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental sets, specially geared for pets. You should see the toothpastes. Petrodex makes a special beef toothpaste as well as a chicken flavored one. Just giving the dogs a taste is a great way to start.
Cookie is not fond of this, but she'll let me do it. She's been pretty good over the years and the results have been well worth it. She hasn't had one tooth extracted and we are entering our sixth year of owning her. Gigi, is new to this and is more laid-back about it. Since I've bought the type of toothbrush that has one big brush and a little brush on the other side, I find the smaller brush works better for Gigi since her mouth is pretty small.
If you're really on a mission to be tartar-free, a scraper works great, but the noise can tend to be stressful for the dog. The vet does offer teeth-cleaning as well but at about $300 USD, which includes putting your dog under anesthesia, it may be a little high for your wallet. I've done it a couple of times, and the end result is well worth it. The last time I had it done, the vet told me that she hadn't seen a dog with such great teeth for a dog Cookie's age.
My cat will not let me near her with a 10 foot pole so I'm lucky if I can put some toothpaste on her chin and have her clean herself. Cats are probably handled best by the veternarians.
Anyhow, if you've always been on the fence about this topic, and you can handle a few minutes of squeamishness, there is nothing better for improving your pet's quality of life and it's great for building up the bond you have with your dog.
Below you will find some more information on this topic:
Have a great day all!