In an ideal world your dog would have their teeth brushed daily but in reality there aren’t many people that achieve this. I would guess that even your vet doesn’t brush their dog’s teeth daily. It is important to brush your dogs teeth as without, plaque builds causing bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. It can also cause painful and serious infections.
If you haven’t brushed your dogs teeth before then you can start now. Follow these steps to ease your dog into the swing of things. If you can brush them once a week you are doing a great job.
1: Find the Right Time
Brush your dog’s teeth when they are calm and relaxed.
2: Get Their Gums Ready
Test their willingness by rubbing your finger along the upper gums and teeth. This helps them get used to the feel of something against her teeth. Use light pressure. You may need to get your dog used to this over a few sessions before moving on.
3: Get Prepared
You should use a toothbrush made for dogs. The bristles are softer and specially angled. Finger brushes can work well for dogs under 30 pounds. For larger dogs, longer handles can give you better reach. Use dog toothpaste, too, it comes in dog-friendly flavours like chicken. Never use human toothpaste; it contains ingredients that may hurt your dog’s stomach.
4: Test the Toothpaste
Put some dog toothpaste on your fingertip. Let your dog lick the it so they get used to the texture and taste. If after a few days they refuse to lick more toothpaste after the initial taste, try a different flavour to find one they like.
5: Assume the Position
Make sure you’re in a spot where your dog is comfortable. Don’t stand above them, hold them down, or take a threatening stance. Try kneeling or sitting to the side. Gauge your dog’s anxiety level. If they seem stressed, stop, and try again later. It may take practice and time to get there but it is worth it.
6: Try the Toothbrush
Once they are used to all the above, start using the toothpaste and toothbrush together. Lift the upper lip and angle the bristles so they reach the gum line and clear away plaque gently. Slight bleeding every so often is OK. But ongoing or heavy bleeding may mean you’re brushing too aggressively or it may be a sign of gum disease. Speak with your vet for advice.
Brush a few teeth at a time, working up to more each day. Aim for two minutes total. If your dog resists at first, try starting on the outsides of the canine and back teeth, where plaque tends to collect. If you can get the insides, great. But if you can’t get to them as well, don’t stress too much. Their coarse tongue helps keep that area cleaner.
7: End on a Positive Note
Once you finish, reward them with their favourite (non sugary) treat or extra attention. Always stop when you are both still enjoying yourself.