Are you aware of what your dog is doing at all times?
If you are like most dog owners, there are times throughout the day where you are unaware of your dog's activities.
Did you answer "no" to the previous question posed at the beginning of this article? Then you should refrain from kissing your dog or allowing it to lick the inside of your mouth.
Social media is rife with videos of dog owners kissing their dogs and allowing them to lick the insides of their mouths. However, these videos can be uncomfortable to watch for reasons many dog owners are unaware of or ignore altogether.
Dogs eat their poop.
And unbelievably, that is the abnormal part – it may seem normal to the dog to eat other animals poop according to science.
Make cleaning your dog's mouth and brushing its teeth a regular grooming regimen. And you need to institute a canine grooming routine if you ever catch your dog in the act of eating poop.
Be warned – you should probably read the following on an empty stomach.
And why should you learn this? If you are going to be cleaning poop out of your dog's mouth, you should at least understand the behavior that got you in such a situation – and how to prevent it in the future.
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Related: How Many Dog Treats is Too Many
Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?
Eating poop is a behavior called coprophagia.
Ancient wolves, the ancestors of modern dogs, and later ancient dogs might have eaten their poop as a survival instinct if they were starving in the wild.
Unfortunately, your dog may have the instinct to eat its own poop that is hard-wired into its DNA.
According to science, it may have been "normal" for dogs to eat the poop of their young or other animals in the past.
Female dogs who are nursing sometimes eat the poop of their young to gain back some nutrients and to keep their environment clean.
Dogs may eat the poop of other animals like cats or horses to gain nutrients. And while this may have been understandable in the ancient past, it is dangerous behavior now.
Dogs should never eat their own poop or the poop of other dogs. Young puppies may abnormally begin eating their own poop due to inexperience, hunger, or as a game.
Extremely sick or emotionally unwell dogs may also partake in such abnormal behavior.
If you notice your dog eating poop, learning how to clean its mouth correctly is only part of the solution. Get your dog seen by a vet and get it checked out. And then take your dog to a good obedience trainer or school to retrain it.
Now, here is how to properly clean your dog's mouth after it eats poop.
How to Clean Your Dog's Mouth
Buy a doggie toothbrush and dog-friendly toothpaste and powder products. Use them to carefully clean your dog's teeth and mouth.
Have a bowl nearby for your dog to rinse its mouth in.
Clean your dog's mouth until it is acceptably clean to you.
If you don't want to buy expensive doggie toothpaste, you can make your own. All you need to make homemade doggie toothpaste is:
- 3 to 4 tablespoons of baking soda
- 1/4th of a cup of coconut oil or butter
- ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
Try adding a little water to the mix to create a paste to your liking.
Only use a doggie toothbrush, large cotton balls, or a very clean towel rag to use the homemade doggie toothbrush mix to your dog's mouth.
It may take time and training to get your dog to sit still while you brush its teeth and clean its mouth. Use training and reward incentives to get it to comply.
Be mindful that your cleaning actions may make the dog feel like it is gagging.
You can create a simple doggie mouthwash by mixing one cup of water with ½ a teaspoon of salt or baking soda ratio.
Never use human toothpaste for cleaning a dog's teeth. Most toothpaste made for human consumption contains an artificial sweetener called Xylitol which is toxic to dogs.
Never use a human toothbrush to clean your dog's teeth. Always use a doggie toothbrush.
Human mouthwash cannot be substituted for use on dogs. Human mouthwash is not meant to be swallowed, which your dog cannot understand.
And human mouthwash has alcohol or many other ingredients, which is not safe for dogs to swallow.
You should start the habit of cleaning your dog's mouth daily. And if that sounds like too much, here is why it is a good idea.
Dog Poop is a Hygienic Hazard
Sorry, but here are some disgusting facts about dog poop. But remember it the next time you catch your dog eating poop.
American dogs generate over 10 million pounds of poop every year. And it is all teeming with bacteria and other biological hazards.
The feces generated by 100 dogs over 72 hours could cause the closing of 20 miles of waterways used for fishing.
One gram of dog poop could contain over 23 million kinds of coliform bacteria. Coliform bacteria live in the intestinal tracts of living beings. They don't usually cause death but can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and upset stomach if accidentally ingested.
Whipworms, hookworms, and roundworms are intestinal parasites that are routinely found in the feces of dogs. They live in the intestines and shed their eggs in dog poop for later hatching.
Dog feces may also contain blood and mucus.
The issue here is not to gross you out but to understand the consequences of seeing your dog eating poop and not taking instant action.
Make Cleaning Your Dog's Mouth a Daily Grooming Habit
Get into the grooming habit of brushing your dog's teeth and cleaning its mouth at least twice a day. Once it becomes a grooming habit for your dog, it should stop fussing and even look forward to it.
Regularly cleaning your dog's mouth will also help you avoid veterinarian and dog dentist bills.
And if you are the type of dog owner who enjoys being affectionate with your pet and letting it lick your face, cleaning your dog's mouth will keep you hygienically covered.
The point is that you should not only think about cleaning your dog's mouth until after you see it eating poop.
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