Any owner of a Yorkshire terrier knows how these dogs energetic are but unfortunately, they are prone to a lot of dental conditions.
Brushing the Teeth of Your Yorkie
This happens because of the original anatomy of their teeth. The problem is their jaw is a bit narrow in some places and their teeth become overcrowded and compressed at the same time. It is one of the reasons why most dogs of this breed suffer from gum disease and tooth decay.
Owners of Yorkshire terriers need to understand how important it is to keep the teeth of the Yorkie clean. Brushing should be performed on a regular basis which will minimize the risk of gum disease.
Brushing will also keep the breath of your dog fresh and would not let plaque accumulate. Most dog owners do not even know that they should brush the teeth of the dog and if they do not perform regular brushing dental problems will appear regularly in Yorkies. It is easy to say but it is almost impossible to brush your dog’s teeth.
Yorkshire terriers are really hyperactive and will not stay calm when you will try to brush their teeth. The first step is to find a suitable toothpaste and toothbrush for your dog. There are also special toothbrushes for dogs of small breeds. You may find them by visiting pet supply stores and you will be able to choose a toothbrush that has an adjustable handle.
You should never use your toothbrush as human toothbrushes appear to be really hard and may cause a lot of irritation.
Another thing you need to do is to choose the right flowered toothpaste. Human toothpaste appears to be really toxic and toothpaste with a flavor of poultry and beef is available.
You should stay calm when you introduce the toothbrush to your dog. All your activities should be performed in a slow and gentle manner. You should always watch the reaction of your dog and if it gets too nervous you should put off this activity for the next day.
Why should I brush my dog’s teeth?
Though dogs do not generally interact through words and there is no need for us to smell them, dogs’ teeth should still be cleaned to avoid oral health problems.
Reports and other reliable sources say that an estimate of over 2/3 of dogs from the age of three has severe oral health conditions. Plaque and tartar build-up, tissue infection, and inflammation lead to painful tooth loss among dogs.
Mild conditions such as gingivitis, which can lead to severe ones such as periodontal diseases, can be prevented if daily brushing is done to dogs. As the old saying goes, “a stitch of time saves nine.
How Often Should You Brush Your Dog’s Teeth?
It is ideal to brush your dog’s teeth with homemade dog toothpaste at least twice a day. Depending still on your dog’s oral health condition, you can bring your dog to a vet or a professional dental cleaning service twice a year to check if there are other oral health issues your dog is suffering from.
Brushing your dog’s teeth when he is already an adult (over three years old) may not be helpful since it would be difficult for him to acclimate to the habit.
Furthermore, you will also find it more difficult to tame them when they resist having their teeth brushed. Nevertheless, it is never too late to lessen and finally get rid of oral health problems in your dogs.
Thus, it is best to start brushing your dog’s teeth while he is still a puppy so he will be used to the taste and feeling caused by dog toothpaste.
How to Clean My Dog’s Teeth
As most dogs are sensitive when their mouths are being held and opened, you must first help your dog to be comfortable when brushing his teeth. Hence, he must perceive brushing as a positive experience for both of you.
Rewarding your dog by means of praising and giving him treats is a great way to start building a connection with him. Observe this throughout the process for your dog to easily acclimate with the experience. Conduct the following steps as well:
Set the time and place.
Teach your dog to recognize and be used to the time and place you set for brushing. This helps them to look forward to the activity once they have already got accustomed to the experience.
Handle your dog gently.
Consider your dog’s size in terms of how you will treat and handle him.
If he is a small dog, then you must make him feel secured by holding him in your lap with his head away from you. On the other hand, if he is of a bigger size, you can sit on a chair and have him sit beside you so you can properly grasp and handle his mouth and teeth.
Once you have set the mood, start cleaning your dog’s teeth by rubbing your finger with a soft cloth over the outer surface of his teeth. Take it slow by cleaning only a few teeth at first especially when your dog feels unsure or nervous about the process.
Observe the back-and-forth motion and give more time to the gum area. Just remember that your dog may be comfortable with you but you should still be careful not to hit or go beyond the outer surface of the teeth; otherwise, your dog might bite you and cause you more problems.
Eventually, your dog will feel comfortable with the process. To add, have him taste a bit of dog toothpaste once in a while so he can recognize it. If you are thinking about whether human toothpaste can be an alternative, stop doing so. Human toothpaste is harmful to your dog especially when there is a tendency for him to swallow it.
As your dog gets comfortable with the toothpaste and you do not see any harmful reaction towards it, you may now start applying a small portion of the toothpaste to the cloth and rub it over your dog’s teeth. Going to the next level, you may start using a toothbrush to clean his teeth if he is comfortable with the toothpaste.
What is the best dog toothbrush to use?
There are commercial toothbrushes made specifically for dogs available in supermarkets and vet stores. When looking for one, consider the following types of brushes:
- One with angled handles so you can maneuver its position;
- One with small brushes that fit comfortably in your hand;
- Finger toothbrushes
- One with multiple heads
- One with very soft bristles which are also used for human babies
When purchasing a toothbrush for your dog, you must also consider his/her size. If you are just starting to brush your dog’s teeth, you may consider using a finger brush instead.
Nevertheless, when you are unsure of the type of toothbrush to use, ask your veterinarian for his recommendations.
Can You Brush Your Dog’s Teeth with Human Toothpaste?
Human toothpaste has a different composition and set of ingredients that can be harmful to dogs. At the moment that they swallow the toothpaste, dogs can have an upset stomach or digestive problems.
Since most human toothpaste has high sodium content and xylitol which are toxic for dogs, it can make your pet ill when they swallow it.
Why is pet toothpaste recommended?
Different from human toothpaste, pet toothpaste is prepared in various flavors which can be appetizing for your dogs. Some of these flavors include poultry, malt and mint, and beef.
Having these flavors to your dog’s toothpaste can make the brushing experience more pleasurable.
How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth?
Apply a few kinds of toothpaste to the toothbrush. Rise up on a side of your mouth your dog’s lips.
This can be done by using your free hand and placing your thumb and index finger in the same place on your dog’s jaw to push down on his top lip, or by using your free hand and positioning your index finger in the same location as your thumb to exert pressure on your dog’s upper lip.
You will need to open your dog’s mouth when brushing the lower teeth. To encourage your dog to do so, gently tilt your dog’s head backward while keeping your thumb and index finger on the top of your dog’s mouth.
Start with brushing the teeth that are most difficult to clean: the big cheek teeth and the canine teeth. If your dog is easy to manage, you should only worry about cleaning the tops and insides of the teeth.
To prevent further damage, focus on treating the outside surfaces of the teeth. The dog’s tongue also tends to eliminate plaque from the teeth’ inner surfaces, so that cleaning is not required as often.
How Long Should I Brush Your Dog’s Teeth?
You don’t need to spend the rest of the day brushing your dog’s teeth. The most ideal length to brush each side of your dog’s teeth is 30 seconds. Nevertheless, you should still be gentle in cleaning your dog’s teeth.
Regular dental care is very crucial for your dog’s health. Make sure to clean the plaque that builds up on your dog’s teeth. Plaque is a mixture of germs and mucus that forms on teeth after meals and dental cleanings within hours.
For reminders, when brushing your dog’s teeth, wear gloves to protect yourself from infection. Similar with your toothbrush, you should also replace yours every three months and make sure each of your dog has his own if you have two or more.