How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

small dog who needs teeth brushed

Maintaining your dog’s dental health is just as important as maintaining your own! While chew toys and bones do a good job getting rid of plaque and tartar buildup, you must brush your dog’s teeth at least once per day to avoid any painful and costly dental procedures down the line. But how can you get your dog to actually enjoy the experience?

What You Need to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Dog-friendly toothbrushes and toothpastes are all you need, and they are widely available. You can either use a dog toothbrush or finger brush depending on what is more comfortable for your dog. Never use human toothpaste on your dog under any circumstances because it is toxic for them!

If your dog is initially resistant to a toothbrush, start slowly. Use a wet piece of gauze and slowly introduce a toothbrush and toothpaste over time.

Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Before you brush your dog’s teeth for the first time, you first have to get them comfortable with the idea of sticking something in their mouth. Many dogs aren’t used to the feeling of having their teeth brushed and it can be a scary situation for them.

First, get your dog in a relaxed, happy state by giving them lots of pets and belly rubs. As you are petting your dog, try gently lifting one of their lips starting at the back of their mouth. If you can, try touching their gums and teeth. If your dog does not seem stressed about it, great! Give them a treat to reward them for their good behavior. If they are stressed about it, don’t try it again. Stay relaxed, keep petting them, and wait to try it again at another time. Eventually your dog will get used to the idea of having their mouths touched and will be ready to have their teeth brushed.

Dental Check-ups for Dogs

Your dog’s veterinarian should check your dog’s teeth at least once a year to make sure that their teeth and gums are healthy. The vet can perform professional dental cleanings if necessary.

Remember, it is also important for you to brush and floss your own teeth twice a day and to schedule twice-yearly dental cleanings. Dr. Giovannini and his staff are here to help you with your dental care, be it for routine or cosmetic procedures. Contact us to schedule an appointment!