Here’s the Best Way to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Posted on November 14, 2017

brush dog teethAs a responsible, loving dog owner, you’ve spayed your pet. You take her for regular veterinary visits and vaccinations. You do everything you possibly can to ensure she has a happy, healthy life.

Or do you?

Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs. It’s also entirely preventable when you brush dog teeth.

Much like in human health, dental care (or lack thereof) can result in a multitude of health concerns. More often than not, owners don’t notice periodontal disease in their dogs until it’s too late.

In this post, we’ll reveal how to brush dog teeth and why it’s important for their health. Read on to learn more.

What Can Happen?

By the age of three, 80% of canines have periodontal disease.

This occurs when plaque and tartar spread beneath the gumline. Bacteria begin to break down the tissue that supports the tooth. The most evident negative result is the loss of teeth.

But the problem doesn’t end there. An overwhelmed immune system is only the beginning of the complications from poor dental care.

Other effects of dental disease include:

  • loss of bone around the teeth
  • development of a hole from the oral cavity into the nasal passages
  • fractures of the jaw from a weakening of the jaw bone
  • bone infection
  • heart disease
  • toxins in the bloodstream
  • chronic pain

Why Should You Brush Dog Teeth?

The most effective thing you can do to maintain your pet’s dental health (between professional cleanings) is to brush your dog’s teeth at home.

Regularly brushing Fido’s teeth will release that pesky plaque before it turns into tartar. Many products on the market claim to improve canine dental health, but not all of them are effective.

Talk with your veterinarian about any dental products, treats, or dental-specific diets you’re considering for your pet. Ask your veterinarian for his or her professional recommendation.

Considering how much you love your dog, it’s worth your time to learn how to properly brush dog teeth.

How to Brush Dog Teeth

Brushing your dog’s teeth will be a learning process for both you and your dog. It may take several attempts before you’re both comfortable with the habit.

Follow these helpful tips to brush dog teeth with success.

What to Use

You should use a damp, dog specific, soft bristle toothbrush. If you don’t have a specially designed toothbrush, you may use a child’s toothbrush instead.

Never use human toothpaste, baking soda, or salt. Although these options are fine for you to use, if your dog eats them on a regular basis they can be harmful.

Pet toothpaste is often flavored like poultry, beef, or peanut. The goal is to entice Fido to enjoy the brushing experience. It’s also specially formulated to be safe for her to eat.

Take Baby Steps

Begin by introducing your pet to the toothpaste you’ve selected. Periodically allow her to lick it off your finger.

After a few days, when she starts to enjoy this interaction, try playing with her mouth and rubbing your finger on her teeth.

She should become acclimated to you playing with her mouth on a regular basis. Once she is, you can graduate to brushing her teeth with toothpaste using a finger brush or gauze wrapped around your finger.

Use gentle circular motions like you would for your own teeth. Focus on the outside (cheek-facing side) of the teeth.

Most dogs will not allow you to clean the inner side of the teeth. So if yours doesn’t, don’t stress about it. Cleaning the outside is a great success and will result in significant improvement in her dental health.

After a short time, you’ll want to graduate to brushing with a dog toothbrush. Try to reach the back upper molars and canines, as these teeth tend to build up tartar quickly.

Like many things in life, patience is the key.

Let your fur baby be your guide. She knows how much you love her, so in time she will trust that this activity is a good thing.

Encourage her with positive reinforcement during every brushing session with petting and calming words. You should also reward ger good behavior after each session with some play time.

How Often Should You Brush Dog Teeth?

When it comes to frequency, canine oral care is similar to humans.

If possible, it’s ideal to brush your dog’s teeth every day.

This may be a goal you have to work up to. But the more often you attempt to brush your dog’s teeth, the sooner she’ll accept it as a regular activity.

How Often Should You Have Your Dog’s Teeth Professionally Cleaned?

Now you know how to brush dog teeth like a champ. Is it even necessary to have your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned?

Yes. Just like humans who brush their teeth regularly, we still need to see a dentist regularly. Your veterinarian can give a level of cleaning care that you simply cannot.

Because of the animal’s inability to understand what’s happening, it’s usually necessary to place them under general anesthesia. This will allow your dog to have a pain-free experience while her teeth are cleaned.

Your veterinarian will be able to clean the surface plaque and tartar buildup. She’ll also get to the buildup beneath the gumline that can’t be removed by brushing alone.

Your vet will use state of the art tools to blast away disease-causing bacteria. In most cases, your pet will be safely awake within 15 minutes of the end of the procedure.

Need More Information?

Would you like to know more about professional teeth cleaning for your dog?

Call 404-919-5150 to schedule a consultation or dog teeth cleaning at Marietta Vet Clinic.

You can also ask our highly trained staff what diet and treat options will enhance your at-home dental care. After all, you want to keep your fur baby happy and healthy for years to come!