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Video:How to Brush a Dog's Teeth

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Brushing a dog's teeth is difficult, but not if you're well prepared with the right tools and technique. Arm yourself with knowledge and guide your furry friend to a healthy mouth.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Brush a Dog's Teeth

HI, I'm Dr. Jeffrey Levy, house call vet NYC and I'm here for About.com to talk about brushing your dog's teeth. 

Brushing Your Dog's Teeth

There are various situations where you might brush your dog's teeth.  In the case where you've just brought a puppy home, you may want to train it to accept types of activity such as brushing the teeth, cleaning the ears and trimming the nails, all part of general healthcare. 

However, if your dog is a senior pet or your dog has been brought home from a shelter, you probably want to check with your veterinarian first.  You don't want to create a situation where in a mouth that has dental disease, you accidentally dislodge the loose tooth or unknowingly create a bacterial shower that can harm other organs in your dog's system.

Doggie Dental Kit

Now, most people will go to their pet store or to their veterinarian and buy a doggie dental kit.  Usually these kits contain a toothbrush that have bristles of 2 sizes, one end for the larger dog, the other side for the smaller pooch. 

Important is the toothpaste you use.  Please don't use a human toothpaste because your dog will always ingest it.  Use a specially formulated canine product.  They have flavors that appeal to dogs, poultry or malt.  Some people like to use a finger brush but this requires a little bit more expertise so nobody gets hurt.

Proper Technique

Now we are going to have our canine volunteer, Jackson, join us.  What we are going to do is gently curl up Jackson's lip and brush.

What we are doing is removing plaque that can eventually give rise to tartar which will give rise to gingivitis.  That's a gum inflammation.  Gum inflammation if left untreated will eventually give rise to periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is the invasion of the ligaments that hold the tooth in place and lead to the loosening and eventually loss of those teeth.  In addition, excessive bacteria in those spaces can disseminate to other organs of the body and cause other types of serious disease. 

Tricks & Treats

If your dog is a bit uncomfortable or it's a first time you're brushing your dog's teeth, there's a couple of tricks of the trade you may want to employ.  You may want to have your dog backed up against the piece of furniture or a wall that will give you a little bit more stability holding them in place.

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