Part of being a responsible dog owner involves maintaining dental hygiene, which means brushing your dog’s teeth regularly. You want to brush your dog’s teeth to maintain good oral health to prevent periodontal disease, dental plaque, and that awful doggy breath.
Another reason to brush your dog’s teeth is if you have to have your veterinarian professionally clean them it can be very expensive as much as $1,000 or more. They require general anesthesia, so if you can minimize that well that’s so much better. This article will try to teach you everything you need to know about brushing your dog’s teeth. Whether you have an adult dog or a puppy, we will try to show you the ways to do it the right way.
How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Start Slowly. Get your dog used to being touched
No dog likes to have their teeth cleaned, so you have to start slowly and get them used to being touched all over just like you would for any exam. Have their ears touched around their eyes and have their mouth examined. When you examine the dog’s mouth, the first thing you should look for is to make sure the gums are clean and smooth, there’s no blood, and there are no irregularities. If you notice anything like blood or growth or a mass, contact your veterinarian.
Do not use human toothpaste
Like anything else you need the right products and do not use human toothpaste because it’s toxic. You will hurt your dog and they will get very sick. You want to buy toothpaste made specifically for dogs. They come in all kinds of flavors: chicken and beef.
The second thing you need is a good doggie toothbrush and they come in two sizes that are smaller and larger to fit your dog’s teeth. Depending on the size of the dog, they can get in the back of the teeth so you can get a good scrub on them. There are also finger brushes which you can actually put on your finger and get a good abrasion on their teeth. Some dogs may like that better than having an actual toothbrush in their mouth. Whenever you put your finger in a dog’s mouth there could be the chance for bacteria and parasites which is especially concerning for children, so they can either wear gloves or certainly have them wash their hands with warm soapy water.
Try testing a bit of toothpaste if your dog likes it and then you rub the side of their mouth gently. Try to do a little brushing on the left lip, don’t yank it up and just gently use it on the side of the mouth. Brush the upper teeth and then go up from the front and to the side. Note that you are not trying to do a 20-minute dental cleaning, you are only trying to do just a minute or two every day and get into the habit of doing it consistently. You don't need to brush inside each tooth as the outside is usually enough however make sure you brush both sides on the front and bottom teeth as well.
There are other ways to keep your dog’s teeth clean without brushing like giving them dental treats. Not all dogs need to have their teeth cleaned in the same amount of time. In fact, smaller breeds especially toy breeds can have worse teeth because they are large and crowded teeth so they only require more brushing.