Tips for Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

It might come as a bit of a surprise to most dog owners, but did you know that you should be brushing your pet’s teeth?  It’s true.  Though contrary to popular belief (we hate to break it to you), your dog’s mouth is not clean, and it does require some maintenance.

You see, just like humans, dogs build up plaque and tartar on their teeth which often leads to periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats and is entirely preventable.  Some of the most common signs are painful rotten teeth, bad breath and infection that can spread to other organs in the body. 

Fortunately, there is something that you can do to help make sure that your furry buddy doesn’t develop gum disease.  If you brush their teeth once a day it removes plaque and keeps teeth and gums healthy, and it only takes a couple of minutes.  So, take action today to better manage your pet’s dental care with these 10 easy tips for brushing your dog’s teeth:

  • Buy a special tooth brush and toothpaste made for dogs.  You can’t simply use human toothpaste because it contains additives that may be harmful to pets.
  • Get your dog used to tooth brushing at an early age, but wait until after they have lost their puppy teeth (around four months of age).
  • Choose a time when your dog is quiet to brush.  Then, have some treats on hand for rewards.
  • If your dog isn’t used to someone touching their mouth, start slowly and build tolerance over several weeks.
  • Slowly progress from manipulating your dog’s lips to running your fingers along their teeth and gums.  Then add a moist, soft cloth on your finger.
  • Once your dog tolerates a finger in their mouth, then bring the toothbrush out, touch it to the dog’s face and let them taste the toothpaste.
  • Introduce the toothbrush slowly.  Don’t try to brush their whole mouth the first time.  Put the toothbrush under their lips, and gently work it around.
  • Brush only the outer parts of the teeth, especially around the gum line.  Don’t try to stick the toothbrush way inside of your dog’s mouth to get the inner sides of their teeth.
  • Brush your dog’s teeth in the same place in your home at the same time each day to get them used to the routine. 
  • Give a treat as a reward.

If you suspect your dog is having tooth or gum problems, don’t wait to let your veterinarian know.  They can do an examination and recommend the best course of action.  Don’t let your dog suffer.  Start your pet dental care routine today!


Featured photo credit: dudwnhahaha via Pixabay, cc

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