How To Brush Your Dog's Teeth
The health of your dog's teeth is a strong contributing factor to your dog's overall health picture. Poor
dental health can lead to a multitude of illnesses. Learning how to brush your dog's teeth properly will help
to assure this doesn't happen.
First gather the needed tools:
Now that you have the proper tools, let's
continue on to the steps in how to brush your dog's teeth:
- Toothbrush specifically designed for pets. These are smaller, soft and have a shape somewhat different from
a human toothbrush. In a pinch, you can substitute a child's small toothbrush.
- Finger toothbrush. These are rubber with small nubs. They do not have a handle but fit
over your finger and sometimes are more acceptable to your dog.
- Dental sponges or pads are soft and pliable, come with a handle and are disposable. Again, some dogs
accept these easier than a toothbrush. Gauze pads may also be used.
- Pet Toothpaste. Do not use human toothpaste as they contain foaming agents that can cause vomiting in
dogs. Pet toothpastes also contain enzymes that help to clean the dog's teeth better. And the most
important thing to your dog - they come in flavors appealing to him, such as beef and chicken.
- Begin by placing a small amount of toothpaste on your finger and allowing your dog to lick it off.
Next, apply another small dab of toothpaste to your finger and place the finger on the surface of one of
your dog's front teeth. Massage gently in a circular motion. Your dog will probably be licking
at your finger as you do this but that's okay; he's getting used to having his tooth massaged.
- After your dog is used to having something in his mouth, it is time to introduce him to the toothbrush.
Place some toothpaste on the brush and allow him to lick it off. Next, reapply more toothpaste,
place the head of the toothbrush in your dog's mouth and allow him to taste and lick at it. Don't
actually try to brush his teeth at this point. This step is simply to allow him to get used to having the
brush in his mouth. After he's comfortable with having the brush in his mouth, you can try placing the
brush against his tooth (whichever tooth is easier to get to and he is most comfortable with) and moving it
gently in a circular motion. You may need to repeat these steps for several days, until your dog is
completely comfortable with the ritual. With luck, he will begin to look forward to the ritual. Now
you are ready to move on to the actual brushing process.
Sometimes you will notice a small amount of blood when brushing your dog's teeth. Lighten up on the
pressure somewhat but do not stop the brushing. Your dog's gums and mouth will only continue to get healthier
with repeated brushings.
- Wet the toothbrush or other item of your choice and apply a small dab of toothpaste to it. A dog
normally has 42 teeth. Begin by brushing the outside surfaces (closest to the lip) of the fangs and the
first large teeth in the back of the mouth on each side. These four teeth accumulate the most tartar.
If these are the only teeth that you are able to brush, it will still be a major step toward improving
your dog's dental health.
- Brush gently in a circular motion, concentrating on the gum line. Spend at least five seconds on each
tooth. Finish the fangs first, then proceed to the back teeth. Once the dog and you are comfortable
with brushing the fangs and back teeth, you can expand your efforts to include the outer surfaces of the other
- Praise your dog often during and after the brushing. A treat following the process will go a long way
towards turning this ritual into a much anticipated event.
Learning how to brush your dog's teeth requires some patience on your part but it is well worth the effort. With
practice, you will be able to complete the brushing process within a couple minutes. Keep your focus on the
gum line since this area accumulates the most plaque and tartar.
Make brushing your dog's teeth a daily ritual. He will most likely look forward to it and especially spending
that extra bonding time with you. And the practice will reward you with better health for your dog.
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