Q: I was wondering what everone thinks of brushing your dog's teeth and what you should use?

April 3, 2008 | By Tracy M. | 4 answers | Expired: 2442 days ago

Tracy M.

I was told that I should brush Rex's teeth, but I'm unsure of how often and what I should use to do this.

Readers' Answers (4)

Apr 05, 2008

I may get flagged for saying this, but generally speaking, if your dog is fed a terrific, whole, fresh diet and you give him bones or other hard chewing materials to remove possible plaque build-up, you don't NECESSARILY have to brush a dog's teeth.

Dogs thrived for years without the benefits of PETsMART and the like (and it's hard for me to say that, I used to work there!) But the truth is, a wild dog's diet doesn't lead to tooth decay; domestic dogs' diets do. That goes the same for "civilized" people. Our diets of McDonald's and sugar and all kinds of processed baloney have led us to be the most obese, disease-ridden population in history. But go visit a tribe of native people removed from anything civilized, and they are the healthiest people you will find anywhere - sturdy, impossibly white teeth, no disease, the picture of perfect health.

Anyways, my point is if you're feeding your dog fresh, unprocessed food (and we're talking bones, fresh organ and muscle meats with some grains/vegetables thrown in) then your dog won't need brushing - just a peek now and then to make sure his tooth and gums look good and he doesn't have anything irritating them.

If you feed a processed diet (anything in a bag is processed, slightly or very much so), then your dog will develop plaque and you'll have to take care of that.

I don't remember the specific brands, but pretty much every pet store will have chicken/turkey/beef/liver-flavored toothpaste. The trick is, if your dog already is hesitant with you poking about his mouth, you'll have to be subtle.

Put a dab of the paste on the tip of your finger, so your dog sees you doing it, and put your finger near your mouth, acting as if you're eating it and it's desirable and yummy. He will, of course, want what you're eating. Let him sniff your finger and get him to lick the paste of his own accord - it'll be hard to brush his teeth if you have to force it every time. Once he licks the paste, if he likes it, give him some more on your finger. Try to slowly move your finger about over his teeth and gums - dogs generally warm to the feeling of a gum massage.

After you've established this routine, you can try to use a finger toothbrush (it looks like a rubber thimble with bristles) on which you can put the toothpaste and brush his teeth.

This is the easiest approach I've found that works.

I wish the best for you and your dog!

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Marta J.

Apr 05, 2008

Dogs don't get tooth decay, they get gingivitis from bacteria getting under the gums.Tartar cause the gums to recede and the teeth to fall out. So when you brush your dogs teeth your also cleaning the under the gums. Use a soft tooth brush and pet toothpaste, or a small amount of baking soda or nothing at all. Just try to massage the gum area with the brush once a week. You don't have to do it every day. If you could see some of the horrible teeth I have seen working as a groomer and at a vet's office you would gag. Bad teeth and gums greatly contribute to a dogs over all health. It can cause heart and kidney problems later in a dogs life from the bacteria traveling through the blood. They have found the same goes for us humans. Oral health is important. It the dogs teeth ever get to the point where you see tartar it time for a dental cleaning at you vet. Wild k/9s life span is 6 to 7 years. Pets any where from 9 to 20 years, because of the diet and health care from people.

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Alice P.

Apr 04, 2008

Yes, you should brush his teeth. At the very least, brush them once a week. I brush my dogs teeth once a day. Do not use human tooth paste. Go to the pet store and buy a tooth paste made for pets. We use the poultry flavor tooth paste.

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