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5 Reasons you Need to Brush your Dog’s Teeth

by DOG for DOG Team 0 Comments

Flip Getting his Teeths Brushed


Have you heard? February is national pet dental month – and with good reason! Taking care of your dog’s teeth is one of the keys to a long and healthy life. Beyond the obvious better breath factor, dental disease can actually lead to problems with your pet’s organs, such as the heart. Caring for your pet’s teeth can prevent other health problems as well, saving you tons of money over the long term! While it’s an easy habit to skip, it’s an important practice to make part of your regular health schedule for your pup. With that in mind, we thought it might be helpful to round up five reasons you need to brush your dog’s teeth and some best tips on how to do it efficiently and without too much stress. Our hope is that if you’re not already regularly brushing, you’ll find an easy way to add it into your pup’s routine and keep them as healthy as possible.

  1. Retained baby teeth can cause problems in pets, just like they can in us. Did you know that full grown dogs have 42 teeth? Before their adult teeth grow in, their baby teeth have to fall out. Sometimes, not all of the baby teeth want to come out. This can lead to problems like gum irritation and tartar buildup. Good oral care doesn’t start and stop with tooth brushing. It should include regular dental exams, including X-rays and a professional cleaning under general anesthesia. “The goal is to maintain oral health, function of the teeth, and a pain-free state,” says Colleen O’Morrow, DVM, a veterinary dentist in Canada.
  2. Think about it: you need regular dental care and you brush your teeth everyday – why wouldn’t your pets? Teeth wear out! Your pets are tough on their teeth. Learn the symptoms to keep your pet from experiencing the pain of severely worn teeth.
  3. 4 out of 5 dogs over the age of 3 years have some sort of periodontal disease. It can be caused by the buildup of plaque. When the gums become inflamed and recede from the teeth (a condition known as periodontal disease), dangerous bacteria from the mouth can gain access to the bloodstream. These bacteria can then travel to vital tissues such as the heart, brain, liver, kidneys and lungs; causing infection and organ dysfunction.
  4. Pets that don’t get dental care can lose their teeth and this can be terribly painful and cause serious health problems. Remember what it felt like the last time you had a toothache? Although most dogs are very good at hiding it, they feel all the same pain sensations that humans do – including dental pain. Brushing their teeth daily can help prevent periodontal disease, and minimise the possibility of infected, painful teeth.
  5. If you’ve got a puppy, now is the time to include brushing in his good-manners training. But have no fear, even pets in their teens can learn to love a good brushing — if you take it slow. Brush gradually and gently. Start by putting a little toothpaste on their brush and let your dog lick it off. Then try touching the toothbrush to your dog’s teeth. After that, brush for a few seconds. Take a month or two to introduce her to this new habit. When your dog is ready for a real brushing, raise her lips to expose teeth and gums. Then brush from the gum line to the tip of the tooth. Avoid opening your pet’s mouth, which can lead to panic and struggling. It’s also important to use toothpaste made specifically for dogs, as toothpastes for humans contain certain types of fluorides and detergents that are meant to be spit out after you brush. Your dog will swallow toothpaste, so buy a product meant for pets. Pet toothpaste can come in a host of flavors, including poultry, beef, seafood, malt, peanut, and vanilla-mint. You’ll also want to use a pet-specific toothbrush. The heads of brushes made for people are too wide for a pet’s mouth, and even soft bristles are usually too hard. Talk to your veterinarian about the best toothbrush for your dog. Your vet may suggest a soft power brush or some vets suggest a finger brush that slips over your finger like a thimble. If you have more than one pet, get each pet its own brush to avoid spreading germs. Don’t forget to brush in back as well. For pets, dental problems are often most severe in the back, upper teeth. So it’s most important to brush the outsides of the big teeth there.

Your pet will probably need a professional dental cleaning at some point in his life, no matter how often you brush. The costs of a regular cleaning with minimal treatments will be much less than a cleaning that involves multiple extractions and gum surgery. Once your dog has lost a number of teeth there may be restrictions on the types of food and treats he can eat. Brushing daily will aid in preventing tooth loss, so your baby can keep his pearly whites and enjoy all his favorite foods well into his golden years.

Here’s a good how-to guide:

  • Do not begin brushing the teeth with toothpaste and a brush immediately! Gradually work your way up to using a brush.
  • Once your pet lets you put your fingers in his mouth, you can try wrapping your finger with a piece of gauze and use it to massage the toothpaste across the teeth and gums.
  • Then begin to use the toothbrush. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth, and brush gently in a circular motion; focusing on the gum line.
  • Dogs benefit greatly from chewing every day on something that helps keep teeth clean.
  • Make tooth brushing fun and rewarding. Before and after brushing, praise, pet and play with your dog.

Ideally you’d do this every day! Though a couple of times a week is better than not at all.  Progress through these steps as slowly as possible; praising and rewarding your pet as he masters each one. It may even take a few weeks to train your dog to accept tooth-brushing, but the benefits will be worth the time you invest. Keeping your pet’s mouth healthy does not have to be difficult, and if done right, can be something that your pooch looks forward to each day!

DOG for DOG founder Rocky recently made a fun YouTube video brushing his dog’s, Flip’s teeth. You don’t want to miss it, check it out in full below:

Thanks for reading, dog fans! Be sure to chime in with your own brushing tips in the comments below!

Coconut Oil: Is It An Effective Treatment Against Giardia?

by Lorna Ladd 0 Comments

None of us like it when our canine friends get sick. Yet, it’s inevitable that at some point in your pet’s life, they will catch something and get sick. And of all the things your dog can catch, intestinal parasites are one of the most common and easily spread infections. Giardia is a common one, especially in puppies.

But don’t freak out if your dog has a parasite. Often times, it comes with the territory of owning a pet, especially if your dog visits the park or other places where they can come into contact with infected dogs.

Itchy dog scratching

Giardia, or rather Giardiasis, is a parasitic infection caused by Giardia Lamblia. These little critters often contaminate water and can be spread that way, or through the soil, other animals, and even direct human contact. The parasite has a hard shell, which allows them to survive for long periods of time in water, soil, and yes, even in your dog’s intestine. Because of how tough these little guys are, it’s important to treat any dog suspected of having the infection.

Giardia treatment in dogs is usually done under the supervision of a vet, and if you suspect your dog is sick with anything at all, please don’t hesitate to visit your veterinarian. Giardia can often be mistaken for other types of parasites and infections if you’re just basing it on the symptoms you can see with your own two eyes. Usually, your vet will have to run tests to figure out the culprit before prescribing treatment. If left untreated, Giardia can cause severe diarrhea, weight loss, and even death, so it’s not something you will want to mess around with.

That being said, there may be a way to prevent a Giardia infection in your dog. Of course, the first step would be the make sure your dog doesn’t come into contact with feces and that they have access to clean drinking water. Prevention is key. But you can also up your dog’s defenses to the nasty bug with some simple items you may already have in your cupboard.

coconut oil on dogs

Savvy owners in the know are raving about using coconut oil on dogs these days. And yes, coconut oil has a lot of nifty uses, including moisturizing their skin and coat. But did you know that coconut oil contains Caprylic Acid, which is a short chain fatty acid that stops the growth of bacteria and parasites? Well now you do! Coconut oil also contains lauric acid which the parasites consume, and it literally causes them to explode and die. Bye-bye parasites!

So in addition to using coconut oil for your dog’s skin, now you can consider it a handy tool in preventing – and maybe even treating – Giardia and other parasites as well. Of course, if your dog is heavily infected already, it may take too long for the effects to help, and you may still need to consider conventional medicine. In severe cases of Giardia, as we mentioned above, severe weight loss and malnutrition can cause serious problems and would need to be treated as soon as possible. Additional medicine may also be needed to stop the diarrhea so your dog feels better while fighting off their parasitic hitchhikers.