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Our vet has told us to brush our dog's teeth. Friends of mine who own dogs have never brushed their dogs' teeth. Dogs rarely brush their teeth in the wild. Is it really necessary? Will it prolong the life or quality of life of the dog? It's icky, but I'll do it if it really helps...
 

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My chihuahuas have awful teeth..one of them only has the four canines as all others have had to be extracted.BUT He eats everything just as if he had all his teeth.
 

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no!!! I have now had 5 dogs and never brushed their teeth. There are special foods which are meant to do the job ...not sure how effective!!Pedigree Denta Rusk is one..
 

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Just a note... dogs were created by man. So 'in the wild' doesn't really apply. They were domesticated from the wolf, who typically does not have dental issues, due in part to their diet and the shape of their mouths. Smaller dogs tend to have worse teeth due to genetics as well as teeth crowding, and in some cases, diet. Kibble and processed foods are not natural foods that a dog would eat in the wild.

Brushing your dogs teeth is a great way to prevent tarter buildup and reduce the need for your dog to be put under anesthesia for a dental cleaning. Untreated dental issues can lead to numerous health problems, so in short, yes, brushing your dog's teeth can help him feel more comfortable and be healthier.

Some tips: Introduce it slowly. Use PET toothpaste only. This is often flavored (poultry or beef for dogs) and because it's formulated for dogs, it's SAFE for the dog to ingest. Never use human toothpaste. CET makes a very palatable paste and a great dental kit that includes a double sided toothbrush (small and large end) and a finger brush. Start by giving your dog a taste of the tooth paste. Slowly (over a few weeks) work your dog up to brushing. The toothpaste is enzymatic and as long as it comes in contact with the teeth it sort of sticks and works without vigorous brushing. Also you don't have to pry the dog's mouth open. The teeth most affected are the outsides of the upper teeth, so keep your dog's mouth closed and rub the toothpaste along all those you can reach. It should only take 30 seconds or so. Make it part of your dog's daily routine and they tend to adjust well. I always give my dog food or a treat after so she gets a reward for putting up with it.
 

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I know to keep their teeth healthy and also to help prevent further problems, brushing them is recommended. Smaller breeds have more of a problem with it than the larger ones. I brush my poms teeth more frequently than my bigger dog's. my poms teeth look horrible.
 
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