Sometimes I feel like an awful doggie parent.
When we first adopted Layla, our Cavalier King Charles, our vet told us that she needed a professional teeth cleaning. Many dog breeds, including cavaliers, are more susceptible than others to heart disease. Proper dental hygiene is an important to heart health, so a proper cleaning to get Layla off to a good start with us was deemed necessary. This meant putting her under anesthesia and it resulted in a $300 vet bill.
We got our dog home with ivory white teeth and promised we would brush her teeth daily. Daily quickly became three times a week. Eventually that was reduced to whenever we got around to it and next thing we knew our vet was telling us it’s time for another teeth cleaning.
How did we let this happen? Are we terrible dog owners?
Well, we certainly aren’t giving regular brushing our best effort. However, part of the problem is that Layla just hates teeth brushing so much.
It doesn’t matter that the toothpaste claims to have a liver flavor (with the smell to match). Layla sees the green toothbrush come out and she runs and hides. Once I finally have her in my grasp, Layla makes it clear that she is not happy. There is plenty of squirming and whining and if I let up my hold for even a second she will get loose and the process begins again.
She enjoys licking the liver-flavored paste off the brush afterward. Plus we always give plenty of treats when we are done, which feels like rewarding a child for a successful brushing with a chocolate bar. And even still, Layla runs and squirms when she knows some brushing is afoot.
I’m told consistency is important for things like this. If we stick to a regular brushing schedule and routine, eventually Layla will fall into line.
Still, , is there hope to train dogs to brush their own teeth?