Dogs, just like humans, can suffer from tooth decay and tartar build-up leading to gum disease. The best way to prevent this is to feed your dog only foods that will not damage his teeth. Avoid all sugary foods and give him plenty of dog biscuits and chews that are especially designed to clean the teeth and remove plaque. Check his teeth regularly for early signs of problems and make sure your dog gets used to you opening his mouth and is comfortable with you gently inspecting and touching his teeth.
If you feel that your dog needs extra help, or your vet has advised cleaning his teeth, then make sure you use a brush (or similar recommended item) and toothpaste especially designed for dogs. Human toothpaste is not recommended for dogs as dogs cannot spit it out – it is not edible and could damage your dog’s health. You will find there is a variety of flavors of dog toothpaste, so start by finding one he enjoys.
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So, when you and your dog are ready to begin, get into a position where you can restrain your dog (or get someone to help) and access your dog’s teeth comfortably. Carefully lift your dog’s upper lip and begin to brush in a circular motion, in a similar way as you would brush your own teeth. Be sure to brush where the tooth meets the gum-line. Don’t forget to get the very back teeth, since this is where your dog is most likely to develop problems. When you are finished the top, move on to the bottom in the same fashion.
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Remember to praise your dog and give him a teeth-healthy doggy treat when you’re done so he’ll look forward to his next teeth-cleaning session.