Brushing your dog's teeth will keep them clean and healthy, preventing the build-up of plaque and tartar, which is essential to good oral hygiene.
Keeping your Cocker Spaniel's pearly whites clean can also contribute to your his overall general health! The sooner you begin, the better, so here's our guide to cleaning your dog's teeth.
The short answer to that is yes!
If your dog's teeth aren't brushed regularly, the gradual build-up of plaque and tartar will almost certainly lead to gum disease, which can be painful.
It can also lead to infection, increased bacteria, and subsequent serious health problems for your little guy.
If you really need some motivation for brushing your dog's teeth, here it is:
Periodontal disease can't be reversed, but the good news is that by brushing your dogs teeth, you can help to prevent gum disease in the first place!
In addition to brushing, feeding your Cocker Spaniel dry dog food (kibble), biscuits, rawhide bones, and dental sticks, and letting him play with hard chew toys, can all go a long way to keeping his teeth clean and healthy.
If your dog already has a lot of tartar on his teeth, I would advise you to make an appointment with his vet for cleaning and de-scaling because it's not possible to remove tartar simply by brushing alone.
You can then begin a new regime of dog teeth cleaning with complete confidence!
Read on to learn more about brushing your dog's teeth and pick up some valuable tips and techniques!
When brushing your dog's teeth, it's advisable not to use human toothpaste because it foams up too much, and your pet will probably swallow most of it anyway, which could upset his little tummy.
You can buy specially formulated dog toothpaste flavoured with beef, chicken, and many other appealing tastes that doesn't foam and won't harm your Cocker if swallowed.
You can even buy him his own special doggie toothbrush!
Don't be tempted to use a 'human' toothbrush because the bristles will be too hard for his mouth.
Okay, perhaps a baby toothbrush might do (at a push), but the ideal brush for your dog will have an angled head for more accurate brushing and very soft bristles.
If you feel a toothbrush is a step too far for you, you might like to try using a finger toothbrush before gradually working up to a canine toothbrush.
As the name suggests, it is a rubber cap with a knobbly surface, which fits onto the end of your finger, and you rub it across and around his teeth and gums.
Brushing dog teeth kills bacteria, so in an ideal world, you would brush every day for beautifully clean and bacteria-free teeth.
However, if you (and your Cocker) feel this is too much too soon, you could begin with once a week and increase the frequency when you think your dog is becoming more comfortable with having his teeth brushed.
If you have a puppy or adopted an adult Cocker Spaniel, who is not familiar with having his teeth brushed, I would advise you to accustom your pet to having his gums and mouth inspected, and his teeth brushed.
This will pay dividends in the long run!
Okay, if you're ready to try it, here's how!
First of all, find a quiet place away from distractions.
Brushing your dog's teeth should be kept low key. Take it slowly and gently and if your Cocker Spaniel sits quietly while you work, praise him and reward him with a small (dental) treat or a few games afterwards.
You may have thought that cleaning and brushing your dog's teeth would be difficult, fiddly, and time-consuming, and you may have asked yourself, 'Why should I bother? He's only a dog, for heaven's sake?'
Well, we know that perseverance and a gentle approach to your dogs dental care can not only improve the state of his teeth and gums but can actually help him to live a longer, happier and healthier life - now, isn't that a big enough incentive for brushing his teeth?
PS: If you have a puppy, you might like to get started now and get your puppy used to the feel of a toothbrush in his mouth so that when it comes to the real thing, there won't be any tears before bedtime!