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?
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. If you tell yourself, “I can brush my dog’s teeth” you just might help increase his or her lifespan.
We announced our inaugural post on winter pads and paw safety this week.
We continued with dog food and treat safety.
Just FoR today, January 9, 2012: 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 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.
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 Fido like he just won Westminster when he is done. Praise rocks, as pet parents know.
Video link: http://youtu.be/PsNlLLSBWLU
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 and mint, available at the vet. Dogs cannot spit and the enzymes that make human toothpaste foam are bad for them. Smile and woof it up with Fido!