A healthy mouth goes a long way towards maintaining a healthy dog. Chewing represents the first step of digestion. Painful or missing teeth make proper chewing difficult. Poor oral health can also introduce infection to a dog’s body. But you can help your pooch maintain good oral hygiene.

If the thought of sticking your hand in your dog’s mouth seems intimidating, you’re not alone. Many owners worry about biting. Even well-mannered dogs can snap if you invade their mouths. By introducing tooth brushing early, it’s a lot easier, but old dogs can learn new tricks.

Use the right-sized brush. One too large can feel like it’s gagging him. Use dog toothpaste so it’s not dangerous if he swallows it. He’ll also appreciate the yummy flavor instead of the super-minty human toothpaste. At first, let him think this is a treat. Reward him for a trick with a dab of toothpaste with no brush in sight. Ever so gradually, move towards serving the “treat” off the brush. Then gently sweep it across a few front teeth. With time and patience, you may win him over.

Don’t require your pet sitter to brush his teeth until she has done so successfully in your presence. A dog who won’t let you brush his teeth may snap at someone else attempting it.

Between brushing, offer dental cleaning treats. These hard treats help scrape away debris from the teeth. Feeding crunchy food may also help reduce plaque and tartar.

Don’t feed your dog people food. Petflow is the right food for your dog. If you must indulge him (who can resist those big puppy eyes?), offer crunchy treats or an uncooked bone. Keep your dog stocked with chew toys, since these help keep the gunk off his chompers.

If you notice any difference in your dog’s eating habits, this could indicate he’s having trouble with his teeth. Also, bleeding or discolored gums, pawing at the mouth, very foul breath and tooth discoloration can be signs of oral problems.

Keep regular vet visits so your dog receives regular professional cleanings.

by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Fluffs of Luv Pet Care offers an array of customized pet care services, including in home pet sitting, dog walking, cat only pet sitting, overnight visits and cat and dog grooming and more. As the most reputable pet sitters and dog walkers in Charlotte and the surrounding area, Fluffs of Luv has put countless clients at ease by caring for their cherished companions while they were away.  Give Fluffs of Luv a call for a free in home consultation for pet care or to set up a grooming appointment 704-421-3492 or visit www.fluffsofluv.com.