Brush your dog’s teeth to help them live longer

Recently I met a lady whose Jack Russell terrier had just died. Wonderfully, however, the JRT in question had lived to the ripe old age of 19. We got talking and I discovered that this lady had also enjoyed the company of a border collie for an almost record-breaking 23 years. It got me thinking. What can I do to ensure Bruce lives as long a life as possible?

Brushing Bruce's teeth daily could mean we have plenty more wonderful pooch moments to come

Brushing Bruce’s teeth daily could mean we have plenty more wonderful pooch moments to come

I asked this lady what her secret was. She attributed her collie’s long life to a daily routine, no stress (he should have been a working collie but apparently he was hopeless at it, so was more of a pet) and the same food every day for 23 years.

However, perhaps surprisingly, oral health appears to play a huge part in increasing the life span of your dog. Because mouths are wet and warm, they present the ideal breeding ground for all sorts of unpleasant bacteria. When a dog reaches three years of age, he or she has more chance of developing gum disease. If plaque and tartar build up, toxins can seep into the body and cause problems for the kidneys, liver, heart and other organs. In fact, some vets think that good oral hygiene alone can add four years to a dog’s life span! Four years!

We are fairly regular brushers of Bruce’s teeth and he puts up with the experience stoically. However, we don’t brush daily or even every other day. It seems we should. There is a rather good article here that I recommend you take a look at. The closing paragraph quotes a vet called Dr Bellows who states: “When a client asks me how long their puppy will live, I usually respond 15-17 years if you brush their teeth daily … 11-13 years if you don’t.”

Now that has shocked me. Three minutes a day could add years to my little chap’s life. I apologise now, Bruce, but I’m getting the brush out. It’s time for your deep clean!

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn:

The Mighty Pooch are specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

The image in this article was taken on an iPhone and is not representative of our professional work 🙂

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