Judy Dethloff, guest blogger
Over the past year I have talked to many pet owners who do not regularly, or ever, clean their pets’ teeth. Oh, did I hit a nerve? Are you one of them? Let February 2018 be the beginning of this important element of your pet’s life.
Yes life. Just like humans, serious diseases and even death can occur from neglecting those pearly choppers. Death, are you kidding me? I’m not. Many years ago my vet told me a story about his own mother’s dog dying because she never took care of it’s teeth. Over time the dog’s gingivitis escalated, became septic and died. That is an extreme case, however, it’s not an isolated incident.
You’re in luck! I can help you get past the procrastination of starting this fun task. Yeah, make it fun! You’ll be surprised once you begin how happy and excited your pet will be when it’s teeth cleaning time. For those of you who already brush your pet’s teeth regularly….you rock.
In the past twelve months I have gone from three dogs to one. Nick is a 5 year old Norwegian Elkhound. When his sisters were alive, boy did we have fun at brush time. All three lined up, not as interested in the act of brushing, but more about getting to the yummy toothpaste.
When Nick sees the toothpaste tube he literally comes running. I have to clean him on the carpet or he slides all over the place. He sits between my legs and as I reach for his mouth, he tilts his head. I grab his lip and go all the way back to his molar and scrub. I do the canine mainly to humor him as I have been told the main objective is the back molars. Off to the other side, I finish with a squirt of toothpaste on my finger that he licks off thinking it’s a treat.
I only have two hands, all of which is handling Nick’s mouth, so I’m unable to guard the toothpaste tube away from the others and clean him at the same time. Several times Sam would chew the tube while the Black Labrador had her head under my arm waiting for me to finish with Nick. Long story to an easy task.
Regarding the toothbrush itself, none of my dogs did well with the brush on each end of the handle. Their heads spun around as if they were trying to follow the brush in order to get the goodies off the end. Instead, I switched to a brush that would fit on the end of my finger which allowed me to have better control.
My dogs were 17 ½ , 13, and Nick who is 15 years old. None of them ever had a dental visit in their life nor did they need one. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to know Jacqueline Hill, Vice President of Operations and Product Development for Answers Pet Food. Jacqueline educated me, providing excellent guidance on pet nutrition and care, along with my own veterinarians’.
OK kids! Off to fun, happy, and healthy brushing. Please don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t go like clock work at first. Honestly, I don’t think it will take long before your pet enjoys it. It didn’t take long for mine, and they were adopted adult rescues. Oh, I forgot, be prepared for the occasional spit flying!