Greys and Strays, LLC Alysia Deaven VMD 2686 S Pine Grove St Jonestown PA 17038 717-304-9987 TOOTH BRUSHING FOR DOGS Each day a film forms on your pet's teeth and gums that forms plaque upon thickening. Bacteria proliferate on the plaque and build up along the gum line causing gum inflammation (gingivitis). As the plaque hardens, tartar is formed. Tartar accumulation can lead to inflammation of the surrounding tooth structures, bony loss and bacteria can spread infection to internal organs. It is best to acclimate your dog to being touched between 8-12 weeks of age--this means touching those areas you want to be able to work with as your dog ages, especially the mouth, the feet, the nails, the ears, the tail, the skin. Approach your puppy from the side, open the mouth and look inside. You can use your fingers and gently stick them in the mouth but discourage any chewing or play biting. You can also use a gauze or washcloth around your finger. Wipe all teeth, front first, and then back with strokes from the gum line to the tip of the tooth. Once resistance does not occur and your puppy is familiar with the rubbing of gums and teeth introduce a puppy toothbrush or finger brush for a week or two. It is important that your puppy is praised when good behavior is exhibited. Since your puppy is losing teeth between 3-6 months of age, you may only want to start brushing teeth with paste around 6 months of age when the mouth should not be too sore—each puppy is an individual and should be treated as such. 1: After showing your pet the brush and allowing the sniffing and licking of it for about 1-2 weeks, place a small amount of pet toothpaste on your finger as a reward. Human toothpaste can be toxic to your pets--DO NOT USE! 2: After about 1 week or so, place the paste on a finger brush and gently brush the teeth for a few seconds on each side. 3: After your pet is acclimated to the oral manipulation, start using a toothbrush or finger brush and really brushing. This means to place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the tooth’s surface starting at the gum line and moving the brush in an oval direction for about 8-10 strokes. Please make sure to get all the way to the back of the mouth in order to reach the molars and to brush the crevices in the teeth, especially the big chewing teeth. (Some pets do better with the finger brush, others the toothbrush) 4: Brushing the inside of the teeth is more difficult and you may need help to keep the mouth open. 5: End your session with praise, a toy, or exercise. Brushing daily is ideal, but every other day is OK. Just remember, it only takes 12 hours for plaque to accumulate. Would you brush your own teeth just every other day??