An Electric Toothbrush for Your Dog?

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You disappear into the bathroom at least twice a day to brush your teeth and gums and keep everything clean and healthy. So why shouldn't you be taking care of your dog's teeth by brushing them on a regular basis? The health of your dog's teeth and gums is just as important to him as yours is to you. Without proper care, his teeth can decay, causing cavities and worse: it can also lead to gum disease and, of course, a nasty case of "doggy breath."

Few Dogs Want to Sit Still

The simple fact is that there are very few dogs in the world who are likely to willingly sit still while you are brushing their teeth. But when you bring out the electric toothbrush, the resistance can become even more pronounced due to the noise and vibrations. But, just like you, your dog's teeth should be brushed daily to keep his teeth and gums as healthy as possible.

Recent studies have found that good oral health in both humans and dogs plays a very important role in the overall health of vital organs. For example, failure to maintain your dog's teeth can lead to decay and disease that may introduce bacteria into your dog's body that can cause heart disease. More importantly, this situation can easily become fatal in older dogs. Before starting any form of treatment, including using an electric toothbrush, be sure to talk to your vet first to make sure your dog's teeth and gums are in good overall condition.

Dentists Recommend an Electric Toothbrush

While most human dentists and a large percentage of veterinarians now recommend using an electric toothbrush instead of a manual one, it is not necessarily for the reasons you might think. Most people tend to think an electric toothbrush does a better job of cleaning, but this is really not the case. What it does instead is make the job a little easier.

According to the ADA (American Dental Association), you must brush your teeth, and those of your dog, properly if you want the best results. In other words, every tooth in your dog's mouth should be brushed a minimum number times if you want to keep them healthy.

When you brush your dog's teeth by hand, you are lucky if you manage 300 brush strokes per minute. One of the advantages of an electric toothbrush is that they operate at thousands of strokes per minute. This lets you cover a much larger surface area and achieve the highest number of strokes per minute in significantly less time than you would normally be able to with a manual toothbrush.

Speed is of the Essence

Since the average dog does not exactly like to have his teeth brushed, you can easily see how time is of the essence when it comes to good oral hygiene. Using an electric toothbrush to clean your dog's teeth, you can not only do a much better job of cleaning his teeth and gums, but you get the job done more quickly. Something your dog is sure to appreciate.

This being said, you need to take the time to get your dog used to the idea of using an electric toothbrush, even if you are already brushing his teeth with a manual toothbrush. Start by turning the electric toothbrush near your dog's head so that he can get used to the noise. You can use treats to reward him when he doesn't turn away from the noise.

Once he has become used to the noise, slowly introduce the brush to his gums and teeth. Again, a small treat can be used as a reward before moving on. Now turn on the brush and try cleaning a small area before moving on to clean each individual tooth thoroughly to ensure you and your dog both get the most benefit from using an electric toothbrush.

A Worthwhile Change

Your dog, just like you, needs his teeth in order to be able to eat. While you can take care of your own teeth on a daily basis, your dog cannot brush his own teeth. Instead, he counts on you to take care of his oral hygiene. Try starting out with a manual toothbrush along with a pet-safe toothpaste to get him used to having his teeth brushed. Then move on to an electric model to ensure your dog's teeth and gums remain healthy for his entire life. Not only will he have a beautiful smile, but you will spend less money at your local vet's office on both dental and physical health issues. If you have any questions about brushing your dog's teeth, be sure to talk to your vet as he is a wealth of useful information.