How To Stop A Puppy From Biting And Why You Should

Learning how to train your dog to brush his teeth is important. According to statistics by the American Veterinary Dental College, by the age of three, most dogs show some evidence of periodontal disease. What exactly is periodontal disease, and most of all, why is it so important to brush a dog's teeth?

Well, here's a basic explanation. After your dog eats a meal, just as it happens in people, a film of white/yellowish plaque starts to deposit on the surface of his teeth. At this stage, the plaque is easy to remove; indeed, you can even scrape it off with your nail. If not removed within 24 to 36 hours though, the minerals from the dog's saliva will cause the plaque to harden into a substance that is known as tartar.

Now, tartar can no longer be removed easily with your nails or with a toothbrush. It's stuck to the dog's teeth in a similar fashion as coral reef larvae adhere strongly to submerged rocks. At this point, the tartar will need to be mechanically removed by a veterinarian using specialized equipment (like a hand scaler or an ultrasonic scaler). If you fail to have this hardened tartar removed from your dog's teeth, the tartar will keep accumulating in layers and a cascading chain of events will start to take place.

As the tartar accumulates under the gum line, tissue damage will start to take place. The gums will start getting inflamed (gingivitis) and they will bleed and become swollen. Also, the bone and soft tissue surrounding the dog's teeth gets destroyed (periodontitis, literally from Greek meaning "inflammation around the tooth") which progressively leads to loose teeth and potential teeth falling.

Other complications that may occur include tooth root abscesses, development of an oronasal fistula, bone infections, weakening of the jaw bone which may lead in severe cases to fractures, not to mention, potential bacteria traveling from the diseased gums into the bloodstream and reaching vital organs such as the dog's heart, liver, and kidneys.

Now, when going in for a dental cleaning and extractions, dogs will necessitate anesthesia. We all would love it if our dogs could simply lie down on the examination table with their mouths wide open and say "AHHHH". Unfortunately, dogs will not sit still and be collaborative and having all those sharp instruments put in their mouths could turn potentially dangerous for both the operating veterinarian, the staff, and of course, the dog.

A good dental plan should preferably start when a dog is a puppy. If a puppy gets used to having his teeth touched and brushed from an early age, then dental care will be a breeze. However, it seems like this is unlikely to happen in most cases.

I have experienced this first hand. Back when I was working for an animal hospital, I used to dispatch a nice puppy kit to new puppy owners. The package included some toys, potty training booklets, dental chews and a small toothbrush. Once called in for their appointment many owners would take the whole kit and leave the toothbrush behind. Or some others, a few appointments later, would report that they weren't able to train their puppies to have their teeth brushed.

Many dog owners may feel that brushing their dog's teeth may be unnecessary, futile or simply a boring routine. However, those who start a good cleaning plan and keep it up, will be prized when their dogs come out from the vet's office with a clean bill of health.

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