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D2003-31

Dear Daisy Dog

Winnie, our miniature poodle, just had her first dentistry and her teeth look like new. I’d like to start brushing them so they stay clean and healthy as long as possible. How do I do that?

Daisy Responds

Congratulations on taking an important step in keeping Winnie healthy. My mom brushes my teeth and appreciates an added reward: my kisses smell sweet!

Buy an enzymatic pet toothpaste at your veterinary hospital or pet supply store. Pet toothpaste is so yummy that my brother Jack has been known to open the cabinet and help himself.

Don’t use human toothpaste, which is ineffective, foams too much and causes stomach upset when dogs swallow it.

Use an ordinary soft toothbrush (child-size for a small dog like Winnie) or a brush designed to fit over your finger. Soften the bristles under warm water and apply the toothpaste.

Gently brush the cheek surfaces of the incisors, the front-most teeth.

Over the next few sessions, Winnie will become accustomed to the procedure and let you extend the toothbrush farther back in her mouth to brush all her teeth.

The cheek surfaces of the teeth build up the most plaque, so focus your brushing there.

Tooth brushing is most effective if done daily, but every other day is also beneficial.

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