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Doberman Pinscher portrait
DENTAL CARE FOR DOGS
Get a new pup used to oral hygiene by cleaning her teeth with your thumbnail. You’ll be glad later when it becomes more important and you encounter less resistance. Older dogs accumulate plaque quickly and need descaling and brushing. Frequently, take a good look in your dog’s mouth near a sunny window so you can see into the back. This will allow you to detect problems at an early stage; for example, a tumour growing in the mouth area can metastasize very quickly.
You can use a nail file to scrape plaque from teeth or a tool purchased from a vet supply store on the internet, such as Foster’s and Smith. If your dog is very well behaved, a retired descaler from your dental hygienist can get into the hollow in the carnasial where debris collects. Be careful with this tool because it is very sharp—it’s not recommended for use with unpredictable puppies. The technique involves scraping from the gumline to remove plaque without damaging gums. Gently pushing the gum slightly back from the gumline allows the ridge of plaque to be removed.

Black Doberman with natural ears

 

Dogs tend to resist this kind of attention, but if you get into a routine it becomes much easier. For example, if you brush your own teeth every night and follow this by brushing your dog’s teeth in a specific location in your home, your dog will know what to expect. Also, remember what it’s like having a dental hygienist clean your teeth—pause frequently during the cleaning to allow your dog to swallow. Maintain your enthusiasm for the activity and speak encouragingly so that your dog knows that it's a good thing.
I use a small toothbrush and toothpaste purchased at the vet’s to prevent plaque buildup. My Dobe’s favourite is “Enzadent,” a tootpaste that looks more like paté than human toothpaste; another excellent option is C.E.T. Enzymatic Toothpaste: the vanilla mint flavor is a huge success! It smells like a milkshake, so this might be an issue if you have small children, but it effectively breaks up the bacteria that cause plaque and foul breath. Brushing daily is required if your dog eats anything with sugar in it, but keep in mind that fruit and even corn contain simple carbohydrates. Hold the tongue down with your finger or fingers so that you can see the smaller molars in the very back of the mouth and prevent these from turning brown over time by brushing all of the surface areas as you would your own teeth. This will probably save you money at the vet's because the cost of descaling is almost $100.
 
Keep a close eye on puppies to prevent them from chewing things that may damage their teeth. Even hard things like Nylabones can break a tooth if you’re unlucky. Veterinary specialists are now performing root canal on dogs, but the results are not guaranteed.

Keep in mind that dogs don’t show pain the way humans do, so a problem may go undetected if you don’t keep an eye on things. The minimum you can expect from regular dental care is gleaming white teeth and avoidance of that stereotypical predator breath!  ]:@{={)

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