Teach your puppy about dental care now!
I hope this new Puppy Tip finds both you and your puppy happy and healthy.
A lot of information is now available about dog and puppy dental care. Now that the majority of our pups are being fed kibble, soft food and treats we need to be proactive in handling the care of their teeth so they can live a long and healthy life. Dental diseases are a threat to our pets health just as they are to our own health with inflammation, infection and tooth loss being tops on the list.
With your new puppy, the best thing you can do is to start training right away for handling of the mouth and teeth. When you have your puppy in your lap or in a comfortable position lift his lips up and touch his teeth & gums. Do this gently for just a short look, but do it often. Make no big deal out of it…just make it part of handling him, the same as handling his feet, tail and ears. Doing this, we are training the pup to accept our help in case of a need for grooming, from an accident and for ease at the vets office when giving shots, drawing blood for tests and for health checks that should be done at intervals throughout your dogs life.
After your puppy is used to you lifting his lips, start to take a bit more time to touch and massage his teeth and gums with your finger. Eventually you can use a piece of gauze to ‘brush’ his teeth with your finger to get him even more used to the handling. There are doggie tooth brushes and tooth paste that you can then go to for the final steps in training your puppy for his daily tooth brushing.
Most puppies are chewers when they are teething but remember to provide your pup with appropriate chew toys its whole life for healthy teeth and relaxation. Chewing helps rid the teeth of the brown tarter build-up and has an added benefit in keeping the mind busy.
There are specific toys for dental health and there are chews you can purchase from you vet that will help with the tarter control you are striving for. Any type of toy that encourages chewing will work but there are some that are better than others depending on your dog and what level of chewer he is. There are dental ‘sticks’, green chews and rawhide that are specifically made for dental health. Another option is to feed raw meaty bones to your pup so he uses his teeth to strip off the meat in a fashion that helps to keep the teeth clean. (Be very careful with large weight bearing bones though, as these can chip and break your dogs teeth if he is an aggressive chewer.)
If you do not train for dental health and are not proactive in keeping your dogs teeth clean you may have to have cleanings done at the vets office on occasion. The cost of this varies greatly from area to area but it is something that may be necessary to keep you dog in tip top shape.
The very best things you can do is; train your new puppy now for easy handling, brush his teeth, schedule regular vet checkups and keep good quality chew toys around for your pups use and pleasure.