Regular teeth brushing is one of the best ways you can keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy. However, many dog parents don’t realize the importance of at-home dental care and often skip teeth brushing.
We are encountering growing numbers of dogs who suffer from periodontal disease, rotten or lose teeth. All of these require professional attention and can end up costing you more than the life supply of canine toothpaste.
Although dental rinses, chew toys, and dental treats help, none of them can match the efficiency of teeth brushing. Being so, it is important to learn how to brush dog’s teeth and make a daily habit of it.
Adult and older dogs will need some time and patience until completely accustomed to this routine so it is advisable to start young. Still, there is no need to despair, because you can teach your stubborn adult dog that teeth brushing can be fun.
How To Get A Dog To Enjoy Teeth Brushing?
Dental care isn’t high on the list of priorities for any dog so it can be difficult getting one to accept teeth brushing. The following tips will tell you how to get your dog to let you brush their teeth and help him adopt this new routine.
1. Teach Your Dog To Be Comfortable With Touching
Some dogs don’t like having their mouth and teeth touched so it is best to start from there. Stroke your dog’s snout and reward him after. Once he gets comfortable with petting and stroking you can try to gently lift his upper lip and gently touch his teeth. Use a soothing voice and praise your dog during this process and give him a treat. Continue repeating this routine until you see that your dog is comfortable and not afraid. Since all dogs are different this process can last one day or several, depending on your dog.
2. Introduce The Toothbrush
Once a dog is used to handling you can let him get familiar with the toothbrush. Present the brush to your dog and let him sniff it and play with it if he likes. Praise your dog, and tell him what a good boy he is, and offer treats as rewards. Continue during this for a couple of days until your dog is accustomed to a brush and doesn’t perceive it as a threat.
3. Get Your Toothpaste
Depending on your dogs taste preferences you may spend some time finding the paste flavor he likes. Once you do, it is time to get him familiar with it. Start by placing a dab of toothpaste on your finger and letting your dog sniff and lick it. Praise and give treats, in order to get your dog to associate toothpaste with nice things. Continue doing this until you are sure that your dog enjoys the flavor and is completely accustomed to it.
4. Try Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
Once you are sure that your dog is familiar and relaxed during all previous steps it is time for your first teeth brushing. Place the toothpaste on a toothbrush, and gently lift your dog’s upper lip. It is important to talk to your dog in a soothing voice and praise him during the whole experience. Place the toothbrush against the front teeth and use gentle motions to brush them. Don’t be discouraged if the process lasts only a couple of seconds the first time, it will get better with practice. Ideally, you should brush again tomorrow and slowly increase the time until you are able to brush both sides for 30 seconds.
5. Pay Special Attention To Canines And Molars
These teeth easily get plaque and tartar so you should try to brush them as best as you can. If your dog starts to struggle, that’s fine you can try again tomorrow until he is completely acceptant of the routine. These steps are the best way to get your dog to be comfortable during teeth brushing, and you shouldn’t rush the process. Puppies and younger dogs will probably get used to the routine in a couple of days, and it can take longer for older dogs. However, don’t be discouraged from the start. All dogs are different and who knows maybe yours will love extra pampering and attention from the start.
Choosing a Dog Toothbrush
Before you start with actual teeth brushing you will have to get a proper toothbrush and toothpaste. After you have them you can proceed with training your dog to behave nicely. Just like your parents had to invest time in teaching you to brush your teeth, you will have to do the same in order to get your dog’s teeth clean.
There are a variety of different toothbrushes available and they are very easy to find. You should use a special canine toothbrush that has softer bristles compared to ones that we use. With proper brush and regular brushing, you will prevent plaque and tartar buildup and remove bacteria and food debris. You will also get rid of that foul bad breath and make your pup kissable again.
These unique brushes don’t contain a handle and are easily slipped on a finger. You can find ones that have rubber nubs, and some are made with bristles. The rubber nubs are great since they also gently stimulate the gums, and for some people, it is easier to maneuver a finger than a handle. However, if you think that your dog may bite you it is safer to use other types of brushes until he is accustomed to this routine.
Regular Dog Toothbrush
They’re smaller than ones we humans use, and have softer bristles that won’t hurt your dog’s gums. Furthermore, they are made with a different angle to better fit in a dog’s mouth and get to all the teeth. For larger dogs get a toothbrush with a longer handle that will give you access to back teeth as well.
As the name suggests it, this type of toothbrush has the bristles on each end of the handle. One end is longer and wider and made for large teeth and can work great for big dogs. The other end has a smaller head that has fewer bristles and is designed for smaller teeth. This brush is great as it gives a perfect coverage of all teeth, still, it can be daunting switching sides every few seconds.
Choosing a Dog Toothpaste
Human toothpaste contains fluoride and other substances that aren’t safe for dogs if ingested. To avoid upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea it is best to stick with dog toothpaste. There are many kinds of toothpaste available and a great number of different flavors to satisfy the taste buds of dogs. By picking the most appetizing flavor for your dog you are one step closer to training him to love toothbrushing.
Nowadays there is a growing number of natural kinds of toothpaste in pet stores. The health of your dog is important, and if you don’t want to expose him to chemicals then get a natural toothpaste. Since this type of dental products is gaining popularity you can easily find the one for your dog at your local pet store. And with a variety of different flavors, your dog will want to have his teeth brushed.
There is a variety of different kinds of enzymatic toothpaste and they all have the same effect. They are specially formulated to remove plaque and tartar deposits from a dog’s teeth. Most of them will get rid of that foul breath and leave your dog’s mouth smelling fresh and clean. Get an enzymatic toothpaste if your dog already has plaque and tartar buildup and try to get the problem resolved without professional teeth cleaning.
Alternatives to Brushing Your Dogs Teeth
Keeping your dog’s teeth healthy will also keep him healthy since bacteria from the mouth can travel via the bloodstream. This can result in kidney and liver failure and in some cases death. So what do you think, how often to brush dog teeth? The answer is every day, which surprises a lot of people. But when you think about it, this isn’t so strange since you brush your teeth every day in order to keep them healthy. Well, your dog is pretty much the same, and this is the best way to prevent plaque, tartar buildup and periodontal disease. You may have heard that 3-4 times a week will also do a good job in keeping your dog’s teeth healthy, and that’s true to some extent. In this case, it is best to combine several teeth cleaning solutions in order to provide a good care.
There are a variety of different dental toys that come in all shapes and sizes. The mechanical action of chewing helps remove plaque and tartar and clean the teeth. Dogs especially love chewing on flavored dental toys, and this is a good way to offer entertainment and have your dog’s teeth cleaned.
Dog dental treats specially formulated to encourage chewing and scrubbing of the teeth. Hence they remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar deposits and leave your dog with a fresh smelling breath. However, as all other product dental treats need to be combined with brushing in order to provide optimal results. And you should also take into the account that they contain calories and can make your dog gain weight.
Water additives can be added to a dog’s water to help remove plaque, tartar, and bad breath. This is an easy way to provide a better dental care for your dog, however, it isn’t a completely efficient solution by itself. Ideally, you should use water additives and still brush your dog’s teeth at least 3 times a week.
How To Brush Your Dog’s Teeth : Step by Step
When your dog is familiar with a toothbrush and toothpaste you can proceed and brush his teeth. Make sure that he is in a comfortable position and that you have everything within hands reach.
1. Get Comfortable
Place your dog on a higher surface like bed or sofa and sit beside him.
2. Treat Your Dog
Get your canine toothpaste and place a little dab on the toothbrush and let your dog lick it. He will enjoy the taste and feel more relaxed and accepting of the routine.
3. Use Dog-Friendly Products
Get an enzymatic dog toothpaste that is specially designed to remove plaque and tartar buildup.
Place the toothpaste on a toothbrush and get prepared for scrubbing the teeth clean.
5. Hold Your Dog
Lift up your dog’s head and hold his muzzle with your free hand.
6. Expose The Teeth
Use the hand with which you are holding your dog to gently lift his upper lip to expose the teeth.
7. Start Brushing
Place the toothbrush on the upper canines and use circular motions to make them clean. Continue brushing in the direction of the back upper teeth.
8. Keep Your Dog Still
Some dogs will try to bite on the toothbrush so it is best to use your hand to hold your dog’s jaw in place. If he tries to struggle, hold him better and place him in the original position.
9. Brush Again
Start from the canines again and work your way to the back molars. These teeth easily develop tartar buildup so it is important to brush them as much as you can.
10. Use Gauze
If your dog doesn’t tolerate the toothbrush you can use a gauze to wipe his teeth clean. Wrap the piece of gauze on your index finger and use it instead of a brush.
11. Wipe The Teeth Clean
Place your finger on your dog’s teeth and gently scrub them with gauze. To prevent the damage to the gums, keep the pressure light and wipe the teeth.
12. Switch Sides
When all the teeth on one side are clean it is time to switch sides and clean the rest of them.
13. Use Toothbrush
Get your toothbrush again and brush the teeth with a circular motion starting from the canines.
14. Brush The Molars
As you brush the canines clean, use the brush to get to the back of your dog’s mouth and brush the molars too.
15. Reward Your Dog
Once all teeth are brushed you can reward your dog with a treat to reinforce good behavior and teach your dog that brushing isn’t a bad thing. Once you know how to brush your dog’s teeth we advise that you do it every day. It takes only a minute and it can really make a difference in the overall health and the lifespan of your dog.
Regular teeth brushing is the best way to keep your dog’s teeth clean and avoid the development of periodontal disease. However, many owners think that it is time-consuming and hard to teach a dog to be calm during teeth brushing.
On the other hand, most dogs love the taste of canine toothpaste and are easily accustomed to this new routine.
This article is designed to help you learn how to brush dog’s teeth and teach your dog that there is nothing he needs to be afraid of. Teeth brushing can be a fun and bonding activity for you and your dog and will save you a ton of money on professional teeth cleaning and vet bills.