Tuesday, February 3, 2009

ASK LOLA: Tips on Brushing Your Pets Teeth & Fresh Breath

Dear LOLA: My dog’s bad breath can be memorable to say the least. I am so glad you are barking the word about Pet Dental Month. I had no idea the importance of brushing Max, my border collies teeth. Now that you have pointed out the positive health benefits I want to start him on a daily dental regime. What are some tips you can give us pet dental newbies on brushing our dog’s pearly whites & maintaining fresh breath?

Sincerely, In Need of Bark-Mints

Dear In Need of Bark-Mints: No pet wants to be caught howling or meowing the bad breathe blues. If you haven’t already heard dogs are notorious for having offensive breathe, a smell so bad that will cause any dog owner to drop and play dead. The stench can stop a charging rhino in its track. Oh, that awful dog breath can put a damper on anyone’s spirit, including your dog. Not so fresh breath will have even the "Best in Show" dog grabbing for a huge pawful of bark-mints. Fresh breath is a must especially if you are on the receiving end of a big sloppy kiss by your furry valentine. But, hold on all my feline friends wipe that smirk off your face, you guys are not safe from the bad breath police. Even you cats can get busted for case of fish breath, breath so bad that it may cause you to lose one of your nine lives.

Are you an owner experiencing a case of "good dog" or "good cat", "bad breath"? If the answer is yes then your pet bad breath is probably keeping you from planting a big valentines day smooch on their adorable face. That unpleasant odor is leaving you wondering where their mouth has been or what died. Perhaps your dog has mistaken the left up toilet lid as an invitation to quench his thirst, even the most sophisticated dog can't resist. You would be insulted if someone said that you have "dog breath" or stinky fish breath. But then, your dog & cat might be insulted, too. Good news, now you and your furry valentine can breath a sigh of relief literally.

Make no bones about it- just like dental care is important for humans, good pet dental hygiene is just as important. Chew on this! Studies show that good canine dental care supports your dog's & cats overall health and well being. In fact, brushing your dogs teeth 2-3 times a week can add 2-3 years to their life, now that’s a lot of dog years. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more then 80% of dogs & 70% of cats suffer from oral disease by age 3. So, help your dog & cat ward off bad breath, gum disease, multiple infections, and heart disease by consistently brushing.

Yearly vet checkups and cleaning is the first step toward prevention. If you haven't schedule a checkup make an appointment. Because a dental checkup keeps bad breath at bay!! Have a veterinarian check your pet's teeth before you start a tooth-brushing program. Always, consult your vet for your pets specific needs.

Hopefully this post is having you pondering the question "When was the last time I brushed my pets teeth?" Like many owners, you are probably scratching your head trying to remember. No, you are not experiencing a case of amnesia, its just the opposite. Pet Dental care is often overlooked by even the most loving parent. So, as the resident dog & pet dental dog-vocate I hope this will get you pet owners thinking about the importance of dental hygiene. Just consider this would you like to walk around all day with bad breath & yellow teeth, well why should your pet have to. Sure tasty dental chews, kibbles and a hard crunchy biscuit are a good start to help with your pets teeth cleaning. But nothing compares to a good daily brushing to maintain those pearly whites.

Good dental hygiene should start at puppy or kitten age, but with a little TLC it’s never to late to get your cat or dog on a daily teeth-cleaning regimen. So start brushing! Because nothing says “I Love you” like fresh, clean breath, white teeth and a few more dog or cat years. So give the gift of a healthy smile and kissable breath this Valentines Day. Hey, you never know! With a beautiful bright smile, your dog may become a poster pup or feline for a toothpaste commercials.

So, now that you have realized the urgency of proper pet dental care and taken your pet to get that much needed dental vet check-up, its time begin at home. After a while brushing your dogs teeth will become part of Fido’s, Felix & your daily routine. So, how do you brush pets teeth? Well, before you begin you will need a few helpful tools, a soft bristle pet toothbrush and doggy or cat toothpaste. Human toothbrush & toothpaste won’t do and should never be used on your dog or cat. Take it from me, my pass medicine cabinet raid (which I won't to forget) and my discerning palette the taste is awful. Now, that you have everything its time to get started.

Here are some easy steps on how to brush your pets teeth & tricks of trade. These tips will have even the most stubborn pet enjoying every minute. With a few practice sessions you will become a teeth brushing machine and your pet will love getting the royal dental treatment.

STEP 1. Quiet Time- It is important to make sure you and your pet are relaxed. So find a quiet and relaxed place to brush your pet teeth and place him or her in a relaxing position. Don't hold your pet forcefully. Small dogs and cats can be held on your lap as you stroke them lovingly. For you dogs out there my parents gives me a a few squirts of Spot Organics Chill prior to my cleaning. This helps relaxes me and makes me less squirmy.

STEP 2. Acquaint your Dog & Cat- For the first few sessions don't use a toothbrush. It is important to get your pet familiar with something besides food going in their mouth. At first, dip a finger into beef bouillon for dogs or tuna water for cats. Rub the soaked finger gently over the pet’s mouth and teeth. After your pet becomes comfortable with that, place a dab of toothpaste on your finger and let her taste it. Make the initial sessions short and positive. Then slowly, introduce gauze over the finger and gently scrub the teeth in a circular motion.

The saying is true "slow & steady wins the race", well this is true for pet dental hygiene. It is important you introduce the toothbrush gradually so as not to make your pet a scardy cat. Okay some pun intended! Dental hygiene should be non-threatening, refreshing & pleasant.

**We recommended using flavored pet toothpaste like poultry, beef , chicken or vanilla because pets like the taste.

STEP 3. Say Hello to the Toothbrush- Place a small amount of toothpaste on the brush. In a slow circular motion, brush one or two teeth and the adjoining gum line. The purpose of this step is to get your dog accustomed to the feel of the brush.

STEP 4. Get Brushen!! - Over the next several days, gradually increase the number of teeth brushed. Encourage and speak gently to your pet. It is important to eventually brush the rear teeth where plaque and tartar have a greater tendency to accumulate. Go slowly and gently and (remember puppies/kittens and senior dogs/cats have delicate teeth and gums). In the beginning your dog will fuss ( or in a cats case hiss) but don’t get discouraged and give-up uncooperative behaviour comes with the territory. Just keep in mind that their health depends on it and you are doing this because you love them sooo much. Be sure to brush the big teeth way in back.

Important: PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE & BE PATIENT! Just keep in mind that this is a new experience for your pet so they will be hesitant & fearful. It is important to be patient and caring through the entire process, so your pet won't start boycotting future brushing sessions. Trust me you don't want to see a picket line of barking mad dogs & hissing cats in your yard. So proceed slowly and gently. Stop each session while it is still fun and lavishly praise your pet. Once the brushing session is complete reward Fido or Felix with a yummy all natural & organic treat. With a treat in one hand and delicious treat in the other your pet will begin to associate toothbrushing with a positive reward. Soon they will start looking forward to tooth brushing and it will become a pleasant activity for both of you.

By following these helpful tips the hope is that whenever your dog or cats hears you brushing they will eagerly be wagging & purring awaiting their turn.

So, to all all my paw pals, young and old have a Kissable Valentines Day and a long healthy life . I normally don't encourage this but go ahead kiss & tell!

Barkingly yours,

Lola the eco dog

If you have a question or need advice email Lola the eco- dog at asklola@pawlux.com.

Does your dog have a Kissable Smile?

Well, enter the best photo of your dog smiling contest hostessed by me, Paw Luxury spokes-dog!!

Best photo wins a goody box full of all-natural Pet Dental products from www.pawlux.com .

Prize includes gift box of Cain & Able kissable tooth brush kit, Zukes Dental Bones, Yummy crunchy treats, + more! Over a $40 Value!

Contest ends Feb 28th, Voting starts the week following. Winner picked March 4th

Rules: Only 1 photo per household per dog, 1 vote per person.

IE: if you have 3 dogs, you may enter 3 smiling photo's, however you may only place 1 vote. When voting starts.

But don't forget to bark the word that your pups kissable smile has been entered. You can promote and bark the word to your friends. Spread the word on twitter, facebook, etc that your dog has entered so they can vote for you. May the most kissable smile win!!

So have your dog say cheese, snap a photo and submit the best photo of your dog smiling.


1. Follow PawLuxury on Twitter.com

2. Retweet to your friends - Copy and paste this into Twitter:

www.pawlux.com Dog Photo Contest @PawLuxury is giving away $40 worth of Pet Dental goodies http://pawluxury.blogspot.com to enter.

3. Head on over to our Paw Luxury facebook fan page. Post your best photo of your dog smiling

**You must join as a fan to be able to enter. Click add photo on the right hand side of the page under photo's.**

After the photo entry deadline ends, we will place all the photo's in the pet dental month album and all of our viewers, readers & fans will be able to comment & place their vote. Photo with the most votes/comments wins. Only 1 vote/comment per person.

Thanks and have fun & get submitting!

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