Monday, February 25, 2013

28 weeks - Caring for teeth

At 6 months old most dogs have changed out most, if not all, of their baby teeth for their permanent adult teeth. It is just as important for dogs to have their teeth brushed every day as it is for a human. And you wouldn't expect your child to start brushing their teeth for the first time when they turn 16, so why not start brushing your dog's teeth early on? Doing anything you will ever conceivably do to your dog later on down the road at a young age sets the dog up to be more accepting of handling and strange things happening to him and makes your life so much easier later in life. Besides, at 6 months old those adult teeth are permanent and you want to start taking care of them immediately and avoid costly dental work at 3 years old.

I started by getting Kili used to having her teeth looked at while she still had her baby teeth. I didn't worry about rushing to brush those. Those come out. Do the ground work first. Every day, several times a day, get your puppy used to having her teeth looked at. Just look at them. Once she's pretty cool with that you can start touching teeth or gums gently just with your finger to get her used to something being in her mouth. Make sure when you look at the teeth that you get her used to having her lip pulled right back to expose those molars. If you do this every day then by the time your pup is 6 months old and has all her adult teeth she could care less about her teeth being looked at.

Now you bring out the toothbrush and toothpaste. If your pup is anything like Kili your challenge won't be introducing the toothbrush into her mouth, it'll be trying to stop her from swallowing the darn thing in an attempt to eat the tooth paste. Take it easy with the brushing at first. Just get her used to having the brush in there. Don't worry if you don't brush every tooth or don't brush for very long at first. Just make it a good experience.

If you do your job right you'll have a puppy who really wants her teeth to be brushed. Kili would actually cry in the beginning when I was brushing Summit's teeth because she couldn't wait for me to do hers. She's since learned that crying results in waiting longer. ;)

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