Do you have a Westie in your family? I do. Our Westie puppy, Sami, has a sweet, playful nature that adds lots of joy to our household. As with all dogs, a Westie needs the proper diet and exercise to stay healthy. In addition, I know that brushing Sami’s teeth on a daily basis helps keep him in healthy condition. Discover why and how I go about brushing my Westie’s teeth, so you can learn how to keep your Westie in great health, too!
Do you need to brush a westie’s teeth? Yes, you do, because it prevents dental issues in the future, it allows you to see the issues, if there’s any, and, of course, fresh breath for your dog.
What Supplies Do You Need to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth?
Sami has a small canine toothbrush designed for smaller dogs. It has a long handle, so I can reach his back teeth without a problem. Try to find one that gives you a secure grip, so you don’t have any slips while you’re brushing your Westie’s teeth. Be sure to rinse it thoroughly and put it in a place where it can dry until the next time.
I brush Sami’s teeth using a toothpaste designed for dogs. Follow the instructions on the tube when determining how much toothpaste to put on the brush. Avoid using toothpaste for humans on your dog. There are some ingredients in human toothpaste that can upset a Westie’s stomach while others are toxic to dogs. Did you know canine toothpaste comes in different flavors? Flavored toothpaste can help your dog feel more relaxed and even look forward to having its teeth brushed. For the record, Sami loves his poultry-flavored toothpaste!
How to Brush a Westie’s Teeth
Introducing Sami to the Process
Since Sami is a playful and energetic puppy, I start the teeth brushing process from square one. I let him lick a bit of canine toothpaste off one of my fingers. This gets him accustomed to the taste of the paste. Next, I gently push up the loose skin on his muzzle to see his teeth. I put a bit more toothpaste on my index finger and rub it along the outside of his teeth moving back to front. I only do this for about fifteen seconds to get Sami used to the process in the most relaxed way possible. He is usually hesitant at first and tries to move his head away. I don’t force it. Instead, I let him sniff the brush and get used to it gradually. My goal is to make teeth brushing a low-stress process we both enjoy.
Bringing in the Toothbrush
Eventually, I put some toothpaste on the toothbrush and gently brush the outside of his teeth moving from back to front on both sides. I use a gentle circular motion and brush along Sami’s gumline. You don’t have to brush the inside of your Westie’s teeth. His or her tongue will clean those. Plus, you use so little toothpaste that you don’t have to try to rinse your dog’s mouth. Sami always goes to his water bowl after I’m done with the daily brushing routine.
Plenty of Reinforcing Praise
I always pat Sami and talk to him after the brushing is done. I want this to continue to be a positive experience for him and me, so I make sure to give him a lot of praise. Westies respond very well to praise!
Reasons to Brush Your Westie’s Teeth
Prevent Dental Issues
Just like people, dogs can get gingivitis and tartar buildup on their teeth. If I don’t brush Sami’s teeth, he’d be vulnerable to developing periodontal disease which can lead to teeth falling out, abscesses and infection. Sometimes an infection that starts in a dog’s mouth can spread to other areas throughout its body including its heart, liver and kidneys. When the vet explained this to me, I was surprised at how much cleaning my Westie’s teeth could affect his health.
Looking for Dental Issues
Brushing your dog’s teeth gives you the opportunity to spot any abnormalities right away. I’ve haven’t brushed Sami’s teeth for a long while, since he is still a puppy, so I’m not yet familiar with what looks normal and what doesn’t, but if I ever saw anything out of the ordinary such as irritated gums or a loose tooth, I would take him to the vet to get it checked.
Since I started brushing Sami’s teeth, his breath smells better. The lack of bacteria and plaque on his teeth contributes to that fresh smell that you don’t normally find with most dogs. This makes playing and wrestling around with Sami a much more pleasant experience. Kissing too!
Tips on How to Approach Your Dog to Clean Its Teeth
Ideally, you want to start brushing your Westie’s teeth when it’s a puppy. But it’s never too late to start. It took about a week for Sami to get used to the brushing process. I increased the initial 15 second brushing routine to 30 seconds, then to a minute. Taking my time and talking to Sami throughout the process helped put him at ease.
Keep Other Dogs Away While You’re Brushing Teeth
Sometimes a Westie can get nervous when other dogs are around during teeth brushing time. So, if this is the case with your dog, put the other dogs in another area while you brush your Westie’s teeth.
Other Things That Can Maintain Your Westie’s Dental Health
We give Sami dental chews made for Westies. They are the right size and texture for him. These dental chews keep bacteria and small bits of food from sticking between his teeth until his next brushing. They are flavorful, so he enjoys chewing on them whenever he gets the urge.
Quality Dog Food
I feed Sami quality dog food that contributes to his dental health. The high-quality ingredients help to clean his teeth as he chews. Plus, it supplies him with the proper vitamins and other nutrients to keep his teeth strong as he grows into an adult dog.
Lastly, I know Sami is healthier because I’ve made brushing his teeth a priority. It’s a task that takes just a couple minutes each day, but it can help him avoid painful dental and health issues in the future.