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Brush Your Dog's Teeth Means Adding Years to Their Life

cocker spaniel puppy

If you can do just one thing just FoR today (FoR as in “Fidose of Reality”) to change your dog’s life, how paw-tastic would that be? How about brushing your dog's teeth easily and without a fuss?

We’ve  been  scouring the world of dog news and sharing with Fidose of Reality readers tips to enhance your dog’s life and things to ensure they aren’t a victim of things like dog food scares, treat recalls, etc.

Just FoR today, May 1, 2013:  Do I really need to brush my dog’s teeth? Isn’t crunchy hard food or gnawing on a treat enough to get the tartar off?

Simply stated, in a nutshell, no. I was in a Twitter chat last night with team BlogPaws and found out about a cool new product called OraStrip. Check with your vet, but it can easily assess the level of periodontal disease affecting your dog in a few seconds.

cute cocker spaniel

I am a once to twice a day brusher of my dog’s teeth and have done so for over 18 years. Not once did my last Cocker Spaniel need a professional under-anesthesia dental cleaning in her entire 15 years of life. The folks at the vet used to be amazed at how tartar-free her teeth remained, and I attribute it to teeth brushing, being diligent, and taking literally 5 minutes or less per day to save her life. I feel as if I was gifted with extra years and healthy organs because of my efforts.

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3. If pet parents don’t attend to the dog’s teeth, oral disease can hit the kidneys, liver and heart, and seriously affect a dog’s quality of life. None of us want that.

It is super easy, even for dogs who never had their teeth brushed.

How to Do It

Start slow. Simply dip a bit of chicken soup broth (sodium free) on your finger and let the dog lick. At least then the whole finger near the mouth thing has been addressed. Do this for a day or two. Advance to finger toothbrush. Put water on it only and follow this paw-some video for how to do it: just for a few seconds, building up each day. Reward your dog as you go along and like he just won Westminster when he is done. Praise rocks, as pet parents know.  It takes a bit of practice. After the sodium free chicken broth, I worked up to teeth cleaning pads. Then I let Dexter lick the toothpaste for a week. Then the front teeth only. Then added toothpaste to a finger brush. Graduated to a baby toothbrush. It takes time but as you can see, he is a pro now.

 My rule of thumb and paw: Brush my dog’s teeth as I would my own; so two times a day works famously. If you can only do it once, you just hit tartar where it counts.

Be sure the toothpaste is made for dogs. I use CET vanilla mint dog toothpaste, available at  Dogs cannot spit and the enzymes that make human toothpaste foam are bad for them. Smile and woof it up with Fido!

Oh and here are dozens of other pet lovers in what is dubbed a blog hop… I am not the only dog mom who cares about good dental health. I bet these folks do, too: