Last time on the Acoma Animal Clinic blog we took a look at how to brush your cat’s teeth. It wouldn’t be fair to all our canine friends and family if we left it there! This time on the blog, how to brush dogs teeth in a safe and considerate manner!
If you read our last piece, well guess what – brushing your dog’s teeth is a lot like the process for brushing your cat’s, but for those who missed it we’ll cover it all now don’t worry.
First, Why Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth is Important
Brushing your dog’s teeth is crucial to prevent not just bad breath (we’ve all smelled dog breath woo-wee!) but it also clear away the plaque that can lead to tooth decay and periodontal disease. If it doesn’t get addressed tooth loss and worse health complications can occur.
How to Get Your Dog To Accept Teeth Brushing
To get your dog used to you brushing their teeth you need to ease into it. First find a calm, quiet place and time for the process. Don’t try and brush their teeth in the middle of the living room with family and other pets darting about. Instead, head to a quieter room where you can close the door. Practice getting your dog to sit calmly and allow you to open their lips. Once they are comfortable having their mouth handled you can start to use a toothbrush. Just start by touching the brush to their teeth. Repeat. Add some toothpaste to it and go for a single brush across the teeth. Practice makes perfect, take your time. It’ll likely take you a few days to weeks to get your dog to sit comfortably while you brush its teeth. Go through each step slowly acclimating your pet to it.
Use the Right Tools
Make sure you have a dog toothbrush and toothpaste for the job. Both are made for their specific purpose and it’ll help you to use them as such. The dog toothbrush is longer, has a curved handle to make for easier handling – especially important when you’re brushing your pup’s mouth. Only use toothpaste made for dogs! Human toothpaste can have ingredients that are dangerous to dogs. Also, toothpaste for dogs can also be flavored for something they’ll enjoy, which will make them more readily accept getting their teeth brushed.
Ok, with all that out of the way, you’re ready to get to it and brush those teeth!
How to Brush Dog’s Teeth
- Get Back to the Comfort Spot – Stick to the spot your pet is used to! It’ll get you the best results.
- Start With the Top Teeth – Hold the upper lip up. Brush the front teeth and make sure to let your dog know they’re a good dog!
- Finish the Top Teeth – Move from the front teeth along the sides brushing as you go. Stick to the top for now! Keep praising your dog!
- Start Brushing the Bottom Teeth – Hold down the bottom lip and brush the bottom teeth. Again start at the front and work your way back along the sides.
- If Your Dog Allows Brush the Inside – If your pup is accommodating, brushing the inside of the teeth. This is usually a bit more difficult, so save it for after your dog is accepting of the rest of the process if you have to.
- Praise and Reward – Teeth brushing isn’t natural for pups (go figure!) so it’s critical to ensure every time it’s a positive experience for them. Praise them frequently and reward them after. While giving them treats after the brushing might seem counter-intuitive (after all you’re just cleaning those teeth!) but for right now the goal is to get them to accept the cleaning. After they’ve adapted to you brushing their teeth you can take the treat out of the equation.
Keep this up, brushing your dog’s teeth every day (or a few days if you can’t manage, a minimum of three times a week is the minimum you should do) and they’ll soon adapt, sitting swell for their daily care. And you’ll save their health and yourself some money in dental care!
Does your dog need a more robust tooth cleaning or a general check-up? Give Acoma Animal Clinic a call today and we’ll get you and your pooch on the road to recovery!