Dogs can get gum disease and tooth disease just like humans. If your dog has poor dental hygiene, it can lead to tooth pain, bloody gums and even infection, which can spread through your dog’s body. Brushing your dog’s teeth is an easy way to remove plaque buildup and avoid serious dental problems.
What You Need To Brush Your Dog’s Teeth:
- A soft, clean toothbrush. You can buy a special toothbrush for dogs at a pet store, or you can use a human toothbrush with soft bristles.
- Toothpaste for dogs. Human toothpaste can be harmful to your dog, so always use a toothpaste specially formulated for dogs. You can buy dog toothpaste at a pet store or your veterinarian’s office, and it comes in dog-friendly flavors like beef or chicken.
How To Brush Your Dog’s Teeth:
- STEP 1: Let your dog taste the toothpaste. Before you try to brush his teeth, let your dog lick toothpaste off your fingers so he can get used to the smell and taste.
- STEP 2: Lift your dog’s lip with your fingers. Let your dog get used to the feeling of your fingers in or around his mouth. It may take a few days of praise and patience before your dog is fully comfortable with you touching his mouth and teeth.
- STEP 3: Gently brush your dog’s teeth. Using a soft toothbrush, gently brush the outside of your dog’s teeth with circular motions. Over time, your dog may let you open his mouth so you can brush the inside of his teeth too.
- STEP 4: Reward your dog! Make sure your dog knows that brushing his teeth is a good thing. Reward him with lots of love and praise.
Brushing your dog’s teeth helps prevent serious dental problems, but you should still take your dog to the veterinarian for regular checkups and teeth cleanings. Just because you brush your teeth every day doesn’t mean you don’t still need to visit the dentist!
BONUS READ: February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Learn more about keeping your dog's mouth clean from the American Veterinary Medical Association.