Yes, dogs need their teeth brushed too! Keep up with your pet’s dental health and reduce the risk of dental disease, infection, bad breath, and potential life threatening kidney and heart disease. You and your dog will enjoy each others company even more with less fear of health problems and more fresh breath kisses for years to come!
Maintaining your dog’s teeth and overall dental health is just as important as your own! Many pet owners don’t realize their pets even need their teeth brushed at all. Ideally, you should brush your dog’s teeth every day or at least twice weekly to help eliminate the daily accumulation of plaque. If left untreated, buildup will affect your pet’s teeth just as it would your own. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, infection, pain, and loss of teeth are only a few of the most common problems associated with bad dental health. Also, like you need a regular professional teeth cleaning, your dog will need to see a vet for a deep professional dog teeth cleaning if the plaque buildup gets too bad. This type of deep cleaning is a rough scraping of your dog’s teeth while they are under sedation.
When selecting dental products for your dog, look for an enzymatic toothpaste and a long-handled toothbrush with an angled head and extra soft bristles or a finger brush. Enzymatic is the best choice in dog toothpaste because the enzymes continue to help breakdown plaque even after brushing! Always avoid toothpastes with baking soda and detergents found in some human toothpastes.
Some dogs are not too happy to have their teeth brushed. Others have never had it done. Of course, the younger your pet is when you start their dental regimen, the more comfortable they will be with the process. If your have never brushed your dog’s teeth, here are some simple tips to help you and your baby get used to it: Approach your pet gently and start with a washcloth or small, damp rag. Slowly rub along the teeth and gum line as you would with a regular toothbrush. Continue this process consistently twice a day for two weeks and you will notice your pet is much more willing to take part. The next step is to try the toothbrush. Run the brush under warm water and then brush the teeth gently. Again, consistency is key. After another two weeks of this, you can introduce the toothpaste and enjoy your dog’s healthy, fresh breath kisses! Of course, we would be happy to provide you with our own professional dog teeth cleaning if you would prefer to take care of your dog’s teeth brushing during the grooming or bathing process.
Other ways to maintain your dog’s teeth
At Hot Shot Dog Grooming in Houston, we strive to keep all our furry, four legged friends healthy and happy in every way. We always promote only the best, healthiest products and practices for our babies and yours. The best way to keep your pet healthy in every aspect of their lives starts at the core with the kind of food you feed your dog. Maintaining your dog’s teeth and overall dental health is no different. Natural, raw foods and treats will help your dog’s coat, skin, teeth and more. The food actually helps clean your dog’s teeth! Some treats out there like bully sticks and certain bones are also great at scraping away extra plaque buildup while giving your dog something fun and healthy to chew on. For more information on these items, visit our Nutrition and Truth about Dog Treats pages.
Dog ears are perfect places for parasites, yeast, and bacteria to easily hide and thrive. Ear care for dogs is an extremely important part of their overall grooming and with just a little maintenance your dog’s ears can be kept clean and healthy. Some dog breeds are more susceptible than others to dirt and infections such as hounds and Cocker Spaniels because of the was buildup they produce naturally. Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, Shih-Tsu’s, and other similar breeds grow inner ear hair that can collect dirt and oils as well as tangles close to the ear canal.
Hot Shot Mobile Dog Grooming in Houston has highly trained, and experienced groomers that are more than willing to demonstrate how to safely and properly clean your dogs ears and, if necessary pluck those problematic hairs to create a much less habitable environment for yeast and parasites. You should, however check your dog’s ears periodically for dirt, debris, excessive ear wax, odor, and inner ear hair. Ideally, your dog’s ears should be cleaned weekly unless otherwise specified by your veterinary professional.
Here are some quick steps on how to do this at home: Gently clean the inside of the ear with a clean cotton ball, dampened in a dog ear cleaning solution. Repeat this step as needed to remove excess wax, oil, and dirt buildup. NEVER insert anything directly into the ear canal! As always, make sure to praise and reward your pet during the ear cleaning process to keep them happy while becoming more healthy. Of course, if you are uncomfortable about cleaning your dog’s ears, we are happy to provide our ear care for dogs service for you at any time.
Symptoms of Ear Infections in Dogs
Symptoms of ear infections can appear differently in different dogs so it’s important to watch for these clues: scratching at ears, tilting or shaking their heads excessively. If your dog seems to shy away from those beloved ear rubs, you may want to check for other symptoms on the inside of the ear. When checking the inside of the ear for signs of ear infection, gently open the ear. If the inside of the ear is red, irritated, or has an excessive amount of yellowish discharge, often accompanied by an unpleasant odor, you are likely dealing with an ear infection and should schedule a vet appointment for your dog as soon as possible to relieve any pain or discomfort they are feeling.
If left untreated, ear infections in dogs can cause skin lesions from constant scratching, irritability, and even loss of hearing. Another debilitating condition is vestibular syndrome. Very similar to human vertigo, this condition affects the dog’s balance causing them to stumble, vomit, and lose control of balance. Ear care for dogs should be a part of their overall grooming regimen and weekly schedule. Keeping up with weekly ear cleanings is the best way to prevent your pet from suffering from any of these ailments and will keep your furry companion much happier.
Maintaining and trimming your dogs nails will benefit their overall health! Long, overgrown nails can become uncomfortable or even infected, causing numerous health problems. Ingrown, broken, or split nails will make running and walking painful and difficult and can have long lasting negative effects on bones and joints. The longer your pet’s nails grow, the longer the quick ( the vein inside of the nail ) will grow too, making it more difficult to trim the nails without cutting the quick. You should be trimming your dogs nails every 3-6 weeks depending on their activity level and weather they walk on concrete or only on carpet.
If you are unsure about how to trim your dogs nails, our groomers will be happy to show you. Clear nails tend to show the quick as a
pink spot inside of the nail. Black nails are a little more difficult to trim safely and may need a more experienced eye. Always have styptic powder on hand to stop any bleeding if you are going to trim your dogs nails yourself. If styptic powder is unavailable, simple black table pepper, cornstarch, or flour.
Filing Your Dogs Nails
Filing or grinding your dogs nails is a great way to keep the quick short while rounding off those sharp edges created by trimming your dogs nails alone. This process is relatively quick and painless, though it can tickle a little. If you have hardwood floors or small children, filing your dogs nails is a must! No more damaging scratch marks! When filing the nails at home, be aware that the friction of every type of grinder, even those sold specifically for use on pets can heat the inside of the nail, possibly burning the quick and causing pain to your pet. This is easily avoided by gently holding the grinder to each nail for only about 3 seconds to round the edges. Make sure to change out the sandpaper heads often and always trim long nails before grinding to ensure the shortest, smoothest nails possible without causing harm to your pet.
Types of Grinders and Nail Clippers
There are different tools to choose from when selecting products for grinding and trimming your dog’s nails. It can be confusing and frustrating to the average pet parent trying to find the perfect items to get the job done. They can range greatly in quality and durability, but are all relatively inexpensive. Here are some of the options for you to choose from:
- We’ve all seen the “as seen on TV” grinders. These are not only flimsy, but the product is misleading. It offers a small hole to place each one of your dog’s toenails inside then grinds away. The problem with that is the grinding head is huge compared to other, more durable grinders and is more uncomfortable to your pet. Also, they get much hotter on the nail because you have to hold it to the sandpaper longer.
- Battery powered Dremmel grinding tools are an excellent choice for pet parents that are new to grinding their dog’s nails. They are lightweight, durable, safe tools for beginners. Most of the battery powered Dremmels have a safety feature that shuts off the tool if hair gets caught in the rotating mechanism. Sometimes long haired dogs get their tails too close and hair can get wrapped around the tool. This grinding tool typically has two settings, low and high, and is the safest option out there.
- Electric Dremmel grinders are also a great choice, but for more experienced pet parents or for use on dogs with short hair. This grinder does not have the safety feature that the battery powered version does so you must be careful when using on long haired dogs. The obvious advantage with this tool is that it’s always ready to go because you just plug it in anywhere. There’s no waiting for batteries to charge. This grinding tool typically has multiple settings, but should always be used on the lowest setting possible to grind the nails without overheating and causing the pet discomfort.
- Puppy, kitten, and cat nail clippers are the smallest nail clippers out there. They are for soft, small nails like those found on puppies, kittens, and even adult cats. These nail clippers look like small scissors and come in a variety of colors. If you’re training your puppy or kitten to have their nails trimmed, you should start with these while they are very young.
- Small nail clippers are great for slightly older puppies and small to medium adult dogs. They can handle harder nails that our adult pets have and are typically pretty durable. These come in the scissor style and the guillotine style that has a hole to poke the nail through before cutting.
- Large nail clippers are perfect for our largest of breeds, young and old. They can handle any size or density of nail on any dog and are very durable. They come in scissor style and guillotine style.
When trimming your dog’s nails, ALWAYS avoid products that seem too good to be true. As seen on TV items are almost always flimsy and a waste of money. I have personally used this product and would never recommend it to anyone I know. Also, there are nail clippers out there that claim to be able to tell if you are about to cut the quick of the nail. Guess what, they don’t work either. The safest bet is to go with a groomer or vet recommended product.
Of course, if you would feel safer having one of our trained professionals trim or file your dog’s nails for you we would be more than happy to do so. Add this to any package as one of our Extra Services or as a stand alone service. Contact us to set up an appointment today!