Did you know that you’re supposed to brush your dog’s teeth three times a week at a minimum? Because I sure didn’t. Veterinarians actually suggest brushing twice a day, just like you (ideally) do for yourself. Brushing is important to preventing plaque and tartar buildup, which can cause dental issues like severe periodontal disease. Symptoms of this disease can include redness in the gums, bad breath, pain, and ulcers in the mouth, so it’s definitely best to take preventative measures and brush your pup’s teeth daily. Now let’s get into how to best brush your dog‘s teeth…
Practice Touching their Mouth
Brushing your dog’s teeth will require you to touch your dog’s mouth, so you need to get them comfortable with that. Kneel down so that you are on your pup’s level and have some tasty treats at hand. Try to gently trace your finger along your dog’s gums and teeth. It might take a few tries before they are comfortable, so be patient. Once you successfully rub their gums with your finger, give them a treat so they can have a positive association with the process.
Test the Toothpaste
Before using a toothpaste, try putting a little on your finger and let your dog lick it. If they don’t seem interested you probably need a different flavor. There are quite a few doggie toothpastes out there, so it may just take a little experimentation on your part.
The last step is to actually brush your dog’s teeth. Try and be as gentle as possible while still brushing all around the teeth and gums. Patience is once again key here, as it might take a while for your dog to get used to the brush. Treats can help here too!
Now that we know how to best brush your dog‘s teeth, let’s get into the best tools…
Some vets suggest using a soft child’s toothbrush for your pup, so this is the one I use for my Airedale Terrier. It has nice soft bristles for your dog, and it comes with a suction cup so you can stick it to the wall, which adds a little bit of fun for you. My dog actually doesn’t mind brushing, so if you’re looking for something that allows for a little more control, like a finger brush, keep on reading.
This kit comes with a regular toothbrush, a finger brush, and toothpaste, so it’s got all of your bases covered. It even comes with peanut butter-flavored toothpaste, which your dog will find absolutely delicious. The toothpaste also contains Denta-C, a blend of Vitamin C and sodium hexametaphosphate (a natural detergent), that reduces plaque and tartar on teeth.
These treats come for a variety of ages and sizes, and also have original, fresh, and blueberry flavors. They have a chewy texture that aims to clean from gum to tip, and are also packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
If your dog hates the idea of you reaching into their mouth, a good option is a toy that is able to do some of the work for you. This toy has plenty of “bristles” around the top, a toothpaste dispenser, and paw pads for easy manipulation. It also has tons of good reviews, so it’s definitely worth a shot. This toy comes in small, medium, and large, so it can work for any sized pup.