How Do I Brush My Dog's Teeth?
Believe it or not, regular tooth brushing isn’t just for humans. It’s also important for your dog. Daily brushing isn’t just about maintaining those pearly whites; it can also extend your pup’s life. Regular dental care can reduce inflammation of the tissues surrounding the teeth and prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease. In addition to affecting the teeth, these conditions can also lead to more serious medical issues that could reduce your dog’s lifespan. So let’s get out that doggy toothpaste and start brushing!
Starting a Brushing Routine
Try and introduce a tooth cleaning routine your dog as early in their life as possible. The sooner your pup is used to brushing, the less they will struggle come cleaning time. You can ease them into the routine by starting out brushing once a week. Once the weekly cleaning has been established, slowly work your way up to a daily brushing, using positive reinforcement to make the experience more pleasant for your dog. When it’s a part of their daily routine, they will learn to expect it and maybe even enjoy it as quality time spent with you.
How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth:
- Choose a time of day that is convenient for you and that you can commit to on a regular basis.
- Purchase a toothpaste made specifically for dogs. Do not use a human toothpaste, as these can be very harmful for your dog.
- For the first few days or even weeks, introduce brushing and the toothpaste to your dog by rubbing their teeth with a rubber finger brush, using the smooth side to start. This will help familiarize your dog with the brushing action without irritating their gums, and also get them used to the taste of the toothpaste.
- Next, purchase a toothbrush (you can find one for your dog at the vet or pet store). You may want to use an angled brush, or you might prefer a small brush that can fit into the back of the dog’s mouth, or you may even choose to keep using the finger toothbrush, but switch to brushing with the bristled side.
- Apply a small amount of toothpaste to the toothbrush, keeping a little bowl of water beside you to add moisture if necessary. Starting on one side, lift your dog’s lip and start brushing from front to back in gentle circular motions, making sure to massage the gums as well. Try to brush each side for 30-60 seconds.
- Keep giving your dog praise throughout the process to motivate and encourage them to stay still.
- Always follow brushing sessions with a treat. Even better, make it a dental treat or chew. Not only will this reward your dog and give them something to look forward to after each brush session, but it will also continue the cleaning process.
Following these steps will help you improve your dog’s oral hygiene, prevent them from developing dental diseases, enhance their overall health, and make daily brushing a treat, not a chore. And as always, contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog’s teeth or overall health.