Brushing your dog’s teeth is an important healthcare need that not many people realize is good to do at least a few times a week. Most people think that teeth brushing is just for humans, but you can actually brush your dog’s teeth as well! Dogs can have dental problems related to decay and tartar buildup just like humans, so teeth brushing is a great way to maintain their dental health.
If you have never brushed your dog’s teeth, you might be wondering if it’s really necessary. You might also be wondering how you go about brushing a dog’s teeth. These are both valid questions that we will explore in this article.
If you are ready to learn some more about how to brush your dog’s teeth and why it is important to do so, you need to keep reading!
Why It’s Important to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Many dogs suffer from periodontal disease that could have been prevented with proper dental care. Eating kibble does little to break up the tartar that can build up on a dog’s teeth, and this can lead to the inflammation of the gums and subsequent infections. Rotten teeth, bone infections, and issues with eating and drinking can be linked with poor dental hygiene, and periodontal disease that is not treated can actually lead to fatal conditions like a heart infection.
Many people are not aware that they can brush their dog’s teeth at home, and they might have thought that this would be a very difficult process that is not worth pursuing. It is very easy to brush your dog’s teeth at home, and most dogs don’t mind the process at all. Being able to spare your dog from pain and discomfort, as well as possible life-threatening illnesses and dental disease, is important. Your dog will thank you for making an effort to care for their teeth and for helping them to be healthy every day.
How Do You Brush a Dog’s Teeth?
Brushing a dog’s teeth is not as difficult as you might think. You can buy dog-specific toothbrushes and toothpaste at your local pet store, or you can also order them online. Ideally, you will brush your dog’s teeth at least once a day, but you might have to work up to this routine as you teach them to be comfortable with the teeth brushing process. If your dog has some dental issues that they are dealing with, be aware that this might cause pain. You will need to be careful when you start brushing the teeth of dogs that might already have some issues with gun infection or loose teeth.
Introduce the Dog Toothbrush to Your Pet
To start out, you might just want to insert the toothbrush into your dog’s mouth and move it around a little bit. Reward your dog for being patient about this, and don’t press further at first if your dog seems upset. Getting your dog used to the routine of brushing can require starting out with small first steps.
Add Dog Toothpaste and Brushing Motions
Once your dog has gotten used to the toothbrush being in their mouth, add some toothpaste and do a little bit of brushing along the teeth that are easiest to reach. Don’t press for access to the back teeth if your dog is acting upset. If you have a very small dog, you might need to get a finger brush for this process so that you do not gag them or hurt them when you access the back teeth.
Brush All Their Teeth
Slowly work up to brushing all the teeth in your dog’s mouth. Be gentle and firm with your dog about struggling, and they will realize that the toothpaste tastes good and that you are not hurting them. Make sure that you stay on top of this routine so that your dog gets used to it and you don’t get into the habit of skipping this necessary part of your dog’s care each day.
Some Tips for Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
If you are having trouble with the teeth brushing process, here are some tips to make it easier for you and your dog.
Choose the Right Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Make sure that the toothbrush is not too big for your dog’s mouth and that the bristles are soft and flexible. As mentioned before, consider a finger brush for very small dogs. Make sure that you have access to a toothpaste that your dog likes. You might need to try another brand if your dog seems really upset by the taste of the first toothpaste that you have bought.
Don’t Use Too Much Pressure
Make sure not to press too hard when you are brushing and to keep the lips from being pinched in between the teeth and the toothbrush. If you are careful with your dog’s teeth and their comfort, they will be much more likely to enjoy the process and welcome it every day. The more patient and thorough you are with your teeth brushing efforts, the less likely your dog will be to get dangerous plaque and tartar buildup.
Work up to brushing twice a day over time, but don’t rush your dog into this. You will need to let them get used to having their teeth brushed before you increase the frequency to this degree.
Dog Teeth Brushing is Necessary for Their Health
If you have been worried about your dog’s bad breath or you have been told that your dog has tartar or plaque that needs attention, you might have decided that brushing your dog’s teeth is a good way to keep this problem in check. You will find that teaching your dog to accept the teeth brushing process is easier than you might have expected, and your dog will be much more comfortable and happier when its mouth feels its best.
Dog teeth brushing is part of a regular care program for pets with healthy teeth, and you and your dog can easily tackle this together. Brushing your dog’s teeth will save you money on dental cleanings, and it will also reduce the chances that your dog will suffer from periodontal disease.
Call 209-432-9437 or use the online form to book an appointment with your Live Oak Veterinary Hospital veterinarian to talk about dog teeth brushing!