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Brushing your puppy's teeth is a quick and easy way to keep his teeth and gums healthy and strong.
Once Fido has all his deciduous teeth (aka 'milk teeth' or 'baby teeth') in place at around 8 weeks of age, it's a good idea to start getting into a routine of brushing his teeth regularly.
His tiny teeth are clean and white right now, and he won't be keeping them for more than a few months, but soon his 'big' adult teeth will start to come in and he'll be hanging onto those for the rest of his life!
Getting your pup comfortable with having his teeth brushed now is important, and good dog dental hygiene is an important part of his health care...... and your responsibility as a caring puppy parent.
It might surprise you to know that plaque can turn into tartar within about 36 hours... so regular brushing IS important as your pup grows up.
You really want to aim for a daily brushing if at all possible.
It only takes a few minutes to do (once you both get the hang of it), but those few minutes could prevent a lot of problems from rearing their heads down the road.
If you have an older pup, or adult dog, check out this page to learn how to brush his teeth properly, why professional dental cleanings are vital, and to see some of the best (and most popular) dog dental care products on the market - Dog Teeth Cleaning 101.
There are all sorts of dog toothbrushes and toothpastes on the market, so you'll be spoiled for choice!
Don't go overboard at first though. You can do just fine with some basics to begin with, and you'll find which ones work best (and your puppy prefers) through some trial-and-error.
Once you've got that down, you can spend a little bit more without risking it being money wasted.
Although there are lots of dog dental care products on the market, these are all you really need to start with:
You can add some healthy, dog dental treats and give them as a reward as soon as you're finished with the exam and brushing too.
It's important that your puppy learns to accept you touching not only his mouth, but his ears, paws and tail too.
An adult dog who hasn't learned
to be calm and obliging in this area can be really difficult if there's a problem with his mouth!
This isn't a difficult task, but you do need to have the right supplies on hand and be gentle and patient with your pup...
..... after all, it's going to be a strange sensation for him at first and most puppies don't especially like having their mouths handled to begin with.
Luckily, puppies learn FAST and they love habit and routine. Once you've brushed his teeth regularly for a week or two, he'll begin to anticipate the process, and accept it.
If you're giving him a tasty (and tooth-healthy) treat after each session, he'll be eagerly awaiting that too :)
Here's a step-by-step guide to brushing puppy teeth properly:
This might sound complicated, and time-consuming, but I promise you it isn't! The first week or so might be a bit of a challenge, but soon you and your pup will have it all down to a fine art :)
Usually you can get all of his teeth brushed in about 2 minutes once you've had some practice.
Puppies only have 28 baby teeth, but once his adult teeth come in there will be 42 big ones to take care of, so it may take a little longer then.
The period between 3 months and 6 to 7 months is when your puppy is teething, and this can be a challenge for him (and you). He might be in some discomfort, or even pain, and his desire to chew and bite is at it's peak.
Luckily there are things you can do to help him feel better, and discourage the inappropriate biting and chewing that is a normal part of this developmental stage.
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