Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dog Breath

Life would be so much less complicated if only dogs could brush their own teeth! Since they can't (or at least mine can't), it's up to us humans to do the job. According to experts, we should be brushing our furry friends' chompers every day. Notice the emphasis on should. If you have an extremely stubborn pooch (a Dachshund for instance), this might be easier said than done.

We have mixed success with toothbrushing in our house. Dewey loves it because he adores anything edible. He will literally lick the peanut butter flavored paste straight from the tube with a look of ecstasy on his face. After that warm up, I can usually get some good brushing in. Greta, on the hand, makes it virtually impossible. Our docile, geriatric, partially paralyzed doxie transforms into a snarling, snapping hound with surprising strength and determination whenever the toothbrush comes out. We've even resorted to all kinds of extreme measures including mummification with a towel and, yes, tranquilizers. After her last dental at the vet, we just gave up. At this point in Greta's life, she has so few teeth left that we just figured she's better left alone. If you can brush your dog's teeth, however, it really is a vital component of their long term health and longevity. Here are some tips:

* Wet the brush in warm water before beginning

* Have plenty of treats handy to keep the experience positive

* Concentrate on the gum line as that's the area when plaque forms

* Enlist a helper! Canine toothbrushing is much easier as a team effort

* Try a rubber cap brush (fits over your finger) if necessary

* Only use pet-specific toothpaste - the human variety can cause illness

* Don't worry if you see a little blood on the brush, just apply less pressure

* Stay optimistic and remember how much you're helping your pup!

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