It’s hard not to get busy with life in general. Sometimes this can cause pet owners to unintentionally overlook their dog’s dental health―an unfortunate fact as dental disease is a widespread issue amongst pets.
In fact, the American Veterinary Dental College reports that the majority of four legged canines start to display signs of periodontal disease by their third birthday. But don’t worry, this can all be prevented by regularly brushing your dog’s teeth―a task which is actually quite simple, once you get the hang of it!
How to Brush a Dogs Teeth – Getting Started
Before you ever put brush to tooth, your dog needs to get acquainted with you putting things in his mouth. Even if your dog is generally calm, you don’t want him to panic, so let him take as long as he needs to get adjusted. A simple way to ease your dog into the habit of brushing is to let him lick some dog toothpaste off your finger.
It’s important to use toothpaste specially made for dogs (like the highly regarded Petrodex Enzymatic Doggy Toothpaste) since some ingredients in human toothpaste could hurt your dog’s stomach. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of days for him to get used to the taste and texture.
Petrodex Enzymatic Doggy Toothpaste
This specially formulated doggy toothbrush not only helps to prevent the buildup of plaque, but it also helps to get rid of bad breath! It’s even poultry flavouredーyour dogs will love it!
If your dog doesn’t seem to care for the toothpaste after several offerings, try giving him a different flavour―you’d be surprised to know what kind of choices are available!
When you first start out, try to find a time of day when your dog is relaxed to brush his teeth. You’ll want to work up to making it a routine so he doesn’t get plaque buildup, tooth decay, gum disease, or bad breath.
Especially in the beginning when the experience is new, you should choose a time of day that is convenient for both of you. Don’t try to introduce your dog to tooth brushing when he is tired, anxious, hungry, or irritable.
How to Brush a Dogs Teeth – Choosing a Toothbrush
Once he gets used to having your fingers in his mouth, you can try brushing a few teeth. The type of toothbrush you use on your dog is entirely up to you. Although there are toothbrushes made for dogs, some people choose to use soft-bristled baby toothbrushes or finger brushes. It may take a few tries to find a brush that works best for you and your dog.
Choosing a Toothbrush for Large Breed Dogs
If you have a large breed dog, you may need a large angled toothbrush in order to reach the teeth in the back of your dog’s mouth. Duke’s Pet Products makes a double-sided 8 1/2-inch toothbrush that’s particularly handy for owners of St. Bernards, German Shepherds, and other large breeds.
Plus, the angle helps reduce wrist strain as you maneuver around each tooth.
Choosing a Toothbrush for Smaller/Medium Dogs
For owners of puppies and small breed dogs, a small toothbrush or finger brush may work better than standard toothbrushes. Try the dog toothbrush kit by Next Level Pet for a variety of tooth brushing options.This kit comes with two finger brushes and one double-sided toothbrush so you can get the best fit for you pup.
Next Level Doggy Toothbrush Kit
Ready to brush your dog’s pearly whites? The Next Level Triple Toothbrush Set contains two finger brushes as well as a double sided toothbrushーthe perfect teeth brushing starter kit!
Medium size dog breeds have plenty of options at their disposal. Ultimately, the best toothbrush choice will come down to what you and Fido prefer.
But, if you’re looking to get more bang for your buck, check out Nylabone’s Advanced Oral Care Dental Kit. The sturdy angled toothbrush in this kit will help you clean each of your dog’s pearly whites while the included tube of toothpaste will keep his breath smelling fresh.
Getting Your Pet Used to the Idea of Teeth Brushing
When you and your dog are ready to begin brushing, make sure the two of you are comfortable– both emotionally and physically. You should avoid holding your dog down, standing over him, or taking any stance that he may feel is threatening. Sitting or kneeling at his side or in front of him will be the best place for you.
If he seems relaxed enough, rub your finger over his teeth and upper gums. This will help him get used to having something rub against his teeth and show you if he’s ready for the brush. Don’t be discouraged if you have to try this a few times before he is comfortable enough to begin using a toothbrush.
How to Brush a Dogs Teeth – The Actual Brushing
Finally, when your dog has given you the green light to go ahead with brushing, lift his upper lip and begin to brush in a circular motion. You will need to angle the toothbrush slightly so that the bristles clean both his teeth and gum line. Don’t be concerned if there is a little bleeding at first. However, if the bleeding persists or gets heavier, you should speak to your vet.
As you clean your dog’s teeth, remember to give continuous reassurance and praise. Petting his fur, scratching his ear, and telling him how good he’s behaving will help him to stay calm. Then when you are finished, give him a reward to reinforce positive feelings about the experience. Before long, brushing your dog’s teeth should be a pleasant routine for both of you.