How To Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Authored by Pam Hawley in Dogs
Published on 06-08-2009

Brushing our teeth is such a regular part of our daily care regimen that we do it without even thinking about it. But what many of us don’t consider is that dental care is just as important for our canine companions as it is for us.

Much like humans, dogs are subject to periodontal disease. If you are already brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, you are doing your part to help prevent these problems. If not, it is never too late to start! Obviously, it is best to start brushing your dog’s teeth early on, when his mouth is still healthy. Starting when your dog is young also makes dental care part of his training and regular routine. But better late than never. Add brushing your dog’s teeth to your daily to-do’s regardless of his age.

Whether you are caring for a new pup or teaching an old dog new tricks, your first task will be to buy a veterinary toothbrush and toothpaste. Do not use human dental products on your dog. Canine toothbrushes are softer than those we use on ourselves, and shaped for a dog’s mouth. They are designed to work best with a dog’s teeth and gums. Human toothpaste can upset a dog’s stomach, so when brushing your dog’s teeth it is best to use a veterinary toothpaste.

Once you have your supplies it is time to introduce your dog to the world of dental care. Brushing your dog’s teeth should be a daily activity, and should be an enjoyable bonding experience for both of you rather than a chore.

When we try a new food, we don’t usually heap it on our plates. We take a little bit, get used to the taste, and make sure it is something we like. Let your dog get used to his toothpaste the same way. Before you begin brushing your dog’s teeth, put a little bit of the toothpaste on your finger and rub it gently on his gums. Let him get used to the taste and feel. Speak to him in the same warm, rewarding tone you used when housebreaking him or teaching him a new trick. Do this a few times before you start brushing.

Also start out slowly with the actual brushing. It is okay if at first all you can do is run the brush along the front of your dog’s teeth.. Work your way up to brushing your dog’s teeth for about half a minute. Make sure to brush along the gum line and to be gentle. Just like with humans, it is the motion of the brush itself that is most important in getting the teeth and gums clean. Make sure to focus on the back teeth, as this is where many problems occur. Brush from back to front.

Make brushing your dog’s teeth a pleasant daily ritual for both of you. Pet your dog and speak softly to him before, during and after the brushing. Let him know you’re doing a good thing for the both of you!


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