Rat Terrier Dental Care – How To Do It Right
Not so long ago, owners (and even veterinarians) believed that dogs took care of their own dental needs (crazy right?). They actually thought that just by chewing on bones and crunchy treats the pooches would get their teeth clean and free of decay. Well, we definitely now know that this isn’t true at all. Talk about bad Rat Terrier dental care.
Even though pooches do not often develop cavities as we do, they instead can easily develop tooth decay, infections, plaque as well as tarter buildup… this can very quickly destroy a dog’s teeth and can in turn lead to many health related issues. So, how then can you keep your Rat Terrier healthy? Well, continue on reading to learn how to brush your Rat Terrier’s teeth for example.
Your Rat Terrier’s Dental Needs:
- Frequent cleanings at home with a quality tooth paste and a firm canine toothbrush
- A frequent dental treat that is good at removing plaque buildup
- Monthly professional dental cleaning with the veterinarian
Reasons For Canine Dental Care
- All the time, every minute, plaque is being produced in your best-friend’s mouth.
- Within 3 days, this plaque then starts to turn into tartar.
- Both tartar and plaque are famous for clinging to all surfaces on the dog’s teeth. They can even crawl under the tooth’s gum line.
- Bad dental care erodes enamel and causes tooth decay.
- Rotted teeth lead to dental infections, which in turn can kick off tooth loss and even complete tooth loss
- When it comes to infections, they are extremely painful and dangerous for your little one.
- Now, if you are are a responsible Rat Terrier owner (or want to be one), all of this can all be avoided with a few minutes of at-home teeth brushing and by utilizing treats that prevent tooth decay, plaque and tartar. If needed, utilize professional cleanings in order to prevent and current and or future serious dental issues.
When To Start
Oral care should start as soon as you’ve gotten your Rat Terrier. Whether your dog comes to you as an 8 week old pup or a mature adult dog, cleaning your pooch’s teeth should be at the top of your list.
Old, adult pooches might not have experienced a previous owner who looked after their teeth, which means that the following ways to teach a dog to tolerate these cleanings will be relevant for a Rat Terrier of any age group.
Getting Used To Cleanings
Much like anything new that you will be introducing for you pooch, you can teach your Rat Terrier to get used to getting his teeth cleaned. With a good 3-sided toothbrush and a highly effective tooth paste that contains the proper cleaning properties, only a couple of minutes per day is required for good dental hygiene.
If you would like more information on Rat Terrier Training in general, we have a whole guide just for you.
First 2 Weeks
Through the first 14 days, you will want your Rat Terrier to get used to getting his teeth taken care of as well as his mouth worked on. That is an essential step. Once you teach your pooch to relax and behave when you do that, the actual brushing of one’s teeth with tooth paste gets a great deal easier. Below are a few tips to keep in mind:
- You need to do this every single day. Dogs that are not trained consistently usually have a much more difficult time when trying to learn something new.
- Choose a single time during the day in which you can perform the “Oral/Teeth Cleaning”. Generally speaking, dogs who have a regular daily schedule tend to do much better as well. It doesn’t really matter what time you choose; it can be 6AM, noon, 6PM or any other time. The most important thing is to make sure that you stay consistent.
During the beginning of this new training routine, your most important goal is to have your Rat Terrier stay put while his teeth are cleaned. The best way to do that is to:
- Choose the quietest place possible where you won’t be disturbed with your dog
- Make sure to have your Rat Terrier sit down
- Go ahead and gently place your fingers inside of your dog’s mouth and rub the teeth.
Now, just remember that you are just starting this new training phase. You absolutely should not use any toothpaste immediately. Just go ahead and simply spend roughly 5-10 minutes daily on rubbing all of the teeth. Just make sure that each one of the teeth gets the same attention. And yes, we mean the black ones too (gotta start somewhere right?).
While you do all of this, please make sure to talk to your Rat Terrier soothingly and with a rewarding tone and gestures. When you are done with the daily session, make sure to give the dog great praise as well as a tasty dog treat for a job well done. Just keep in mind that brushing your teeth is not something that dogs know anything about or look forward to in any way whatsoever. Your dog may try to run away at first, but patience, consistency and daily training will allow for him to get on-board and to sit for you during this whole process.
Here is a Tip For you: If your Rat Terrier does indeed run away, make sure to not give any chase. Your dog will just end up seeing all of this as a game…catch me if you can type of fun! Go ahead and stay calm, slowly walk up to the dog and bring him back to the area that you have designated for this training and begin the process again.
Also, when it comes to puppies. you will notice that with super young puppies, bringing them onto your lap for all of this may end up working out better than just asking them to sit down for you. Once your Rat Terrier knows to stay with you for the dental care session, you can always put him down on the floor to have him sit.
Once your Rat Terrier has gotten used to getting his teeth worked on, it is time to take the following step # 2. You will want to get yourself a new canine finger brush or alternatively you can also use a damp gauze for the job. A canine finger brush is a small brush with a piece of rubber that has some soft knobs which slip over your fingers to clean your dog’s teeth. This process is recommended as it will allow your dog to be in peace as we proceed on to the next steps.
Now, for this second month; what you will want to do in the first week is to just go over each one of your dog’s tooth with the canine finger brush as well as a bit of water. Then, as you progress with this process from week to week, start using more and more of a good quality dog’s tooth paste.
Very important TIP: It is super important that you absolutely never use a human toothpaste for your pooch. The canine will swallow most of the paste that we are using and the human toothpaste can be very toxic if too much of it is swallowed.
The 2nd Month
Now that your Rat Terrier has learned the whole process of teeth brushing, you will want to continue with the daily “Time For Teeth Brushing” process. Your dog should have gotten accustomed to the idea and feeling of brushing teeth and is should be used to the tooth paste’s flavor. Now, it is time to introduce the normal regular size dog toothbrush.
A good quality canine brush will remove the maximum amount of plaque. The old finger wrapped in gauze or the finger brush methods are only so good at removing plaque, so go ahead and introduce the normal canine dental brush. You will want to spend at least a few minutes per day brushing all of the teeth. The best type of canine brush utilizes a 3-sided system that can help you with the brushing process considerably.
Importance of Dental Chews
Good dental chew toys play a huge role in helping us keep your dog’s tooth decay away. The only doggie dental Chew that we can recommend is the Greenies. This chew is is absolutely the best, there really isn’t anything else out there that compares when it comes to being this good when it comes to rat terrier dental care.
The Greenies Doggie Chew is the #1 veterinary recommended product that is both healthy and fun for dogs to chew. This product was also approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) and was given an official Seal of Acceptance for the healthy control of tartar and plaque.
What does the Greenies do exactly?
- Well, it actually works best when it comes to getting rid of both tartar and plaque
- The Greenies doggie chew promotes healthy gums and good overall oral care
- This chew is also great as it freshen’s your Rat Terrier’s breath.
- Greenies also comes in a variety of sizes that can be perfect for any size dog, especially for your Rat Terrier. Their product Teenies is meant for puppies that are 5 to 15 pounds in weight. The Greenies Petite size is for dogs ranging between 15 and 25 pounds. They also have a Regular size for canines that weigh up to 50 pounds.
- Another awesome thing about Greenies? They are great for weight control and are of a grain-free make
***Below are a Couple of Amazon Greenies Products to Check Out***
Great Rat Terrier Dental Care Tips…
1) Go ahead and experiment with different canine tooth pastes so that you can see which one your Rat Terrier likes best; with the right tooth paste flavor, your dog can actually grow to like having their teeth cleaned. Many Rat Terriers like the chicken and/or vanilla flavors best.
2) Make sure to always keep an eye out for red or swollen gums. Also, make sure to take note of any serious bad breath. Both of those can be signs of large dental issues that need to be addressed immediately.
3) You should brush your Rat Terrier’s teeth before taking him out for a walk or even before a scheduled playtime. By doing things this way, you can make the after event a fun event. In a way, your dog will be rewarded for sitting down still and waiting for you to brush his teeth.
Professional Rat Terrier Dental Care
Another super important task is to have your veterinarian perform a thorough ‘full dental’ checkup on your Rat Terrier. During this process, the Vet may do a bit of scraping of any built up tartar on the canine’s teeth. They will also check for issues below the gum line. If you chose to go ahead and have your Rat Terrier’s teeth scraped at home instead (where you do the work), this can be an easy and less stressful way for your dog for to go for the dental appointment ever 2 years instead of every year.
At the Veterinarian’s professional dental visit, you can expect some of the following to be performed:
- Oral checkup for any weird issues
- Doing a blood test in order to check for any other major health issues
- X-rays can also be performed to check for any underlying bone issues
- The Vet should be doing a bit of scraping below the gum line; this process is very important as it can prevent the dreaded periodontal disease
- They might also do a bit of polishing. What this does, is that it helps keep dental disease at back since having smoother teeth can discourage bacteria from plaque from building up.
- Quite often, during the “Full Dental” visit, most dogs are put under sedation to help with the discomfort and pain of having dental work performed in their mouth.
Rat Terriers and Misaligned Teeth
One thing to know is that is not too uncommon for an adult sized tooth to start growing in-place of the first baby tooth while the first tooth is still there. If this happens, it’s very important that you go see a veterinarian to remove the puppy’s tooth right away.
It is super important to address this as soon as possible because you need the new adult tooth to move into its designated location. Leaving two different sets of teeth can cause a ton of issues in your dog’s mouth, even if you only allow a single spot to grow. If left unchecked, the dog’s adult tooth will end up growing in a crooked way and the dog’s bite will end up misaligned. This in turn can cause serious health issues as well as eating problems and lots of discomfort for your pooch.
Since canine teeth come fairly quickly, as soon as you notice an issue with the adult+puppy teeth, you need to make sure to have this straightened out immediately.