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How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Mar 8, 2023Activities, Dogs, Grooming, Pet Health

Guide to Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Your dog’s dental health is an equally important part of their overall well-being, and they need to brush their teeth regularly—just like us. Over two-thirds of dogs over the age of three are thought to have periodontal disease, so starting your dog on a teeth-brushing routine early is a great way to keep your pup healthy. 

Read on to learn how to brush your dog’s teeth properly, as well as a few tips to make the process easier. 

1. Choose the Right Time and Place

Make sure your dog is in a comfortable, quiet place before you brush your dog’s teeth. 

Choose a time after your dog has exercised, so they’ll be calmer and easier to work with. If you can separate yourselves from the rest of your home in a bathroom or other quiet location away from distractions, that will also help keep your pup calm. 

2. Gather the Right Tools

To brush your dog’s teeth, you’ll need a toothbrush and toothpaste that are made specifically for dogs. Dog-friendly toothbrushes feature softer bristles and are shaped especially for your dog’s mouth, making it easier to reach all the nooks and crannies. You can also choose finger brushes for smaller dogs.  Reminder to never use human toothpaste for your dog. It contains ingredients that can be harmful to your pup, leading to an upset stomach. 

3. Get Your Dog Used to Be Touched

If you’ve never brushed your dog’s teeth before, they may be uncomfortable with you touching their mouth.  Before you can brush their teeth, spend time touching your dog’s teeth and gums with your fingers, and reward them with treats each time they allow you to touch them. Over time, your dog will build positive associations with having their mouth touched, and it will make brushing their teeth easier. 

4. Start with Your Finger

Once you’re ready to brush their teeth, start by putting a small amount of toothpaste on your finger. Use your finger to lightly brush their teeth and gums.  This helps your dog test the toothpaste, so they can get used to the taste and texture of it before you upgrade to the actual toothbrush. If your dog hasn’t had their teeth brushed yet, starting with the finger also helps them get used to the movement in their mouth. 

5. Use the Toothbrush to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Once your dog is ready for the toothbrush, brush their teeth like you would your own. Use circular motions to get the plaque and buildup off your dog’s teeth, and make sure to brush both sides of your dog’s mouth. Ideally, you should brush your dog’s teeth for two minutes each time.

6. Reward Your Dog for Good Behavior

Reward your dog throughout the toothbrushing process with tasty treats for their good behavior, especially if your dog is still nervous throughout the process. By using rewards, your dog will learn positive associations with having their teeth brushed, and they’ll be more comfortable each time you do it. 

3 Additional Tips for Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

1. Make Brushing Part of Your Daily Routine

Just like us, dogs should ideally have their teeth brushed twice a day, every day. Making brushing part of your dog’s daily routine helps them get more comfortable and helps make your job even easier. 

2. Schedule Bi-Annual Professional Cleanings with Your Vet

Scheduling a professional cleaning with your dog’s vet every 6 months is a great way to keep up with your dog’s dental health, especially if your dog doesn’t get their teeth brushed as often as you’d like. 

3. Use Dental Chews or Toys to Maintain Your Dog’s Teeth

Dental chews and toys are specially designed with grooves to help fight plaque while your dog chews. This can make brushing their teeth every day even easier and help them maintain their dental health.

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