How to Properly Brush your Dog’s Teeth
How much do you love your dog’s doggy breath?
If your pet has breath that leaves your stomach turning and you dashing for the nearest receptacle to empty your guts out, then you may not be doing a great job looking after your dog’s dental hygiene.
Dogs, like humans, need their mouths cleaned regularly to keep them healthy. And it’s highly important for you to learn how to brush your dog’s mouth regularly and ensure proper oral care so your pet can grow old with all their teeth firmly intact as well as having pleasant doggy breath each time they decides to slather you with wet, sloppy kisses.
So, let’s go into the details of how to give your dog’s teeth a real good clean.
First off, here’s a list of tools you’ll need to help you brush your dog’s mouth regularly.
You’ll need a toothbrush specifically designed for dogs. These toothbrushes feature medium strength, double bristles with brushes angled at a strict 45 degree angle. These features help clean the teeth and gums of your dog effortlessly. The tensile strength of the brushes is also the most comfortable for your dog’s mouth.
Next, you’ll need toothpaste to help clean his canines. Don’t use toothpaste made for humans as these are not properly formulated for your pet’s teeth. It could cause more damage than good for your pet. And last but not the least: you’ll need some chew toys as a reward and as a dental care tool that your dog can enjoy after.
Having these three essentials in your grooming is pretty much enough to take care of your dog’s dental health.
But, the challenges don’t stop there.
Brushing your dog’s teeth can be challenging since this is not a natural exercise dog’s enjoy in the wild. You’ll have to expect some struggle if your dog resists this strange sensation at first.
How to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth without Struggle?
The best answer would be to start this ritual while your dog is still a puppy. It’s easier to train dogs when they’re at this stage to accept some of the grooming rituals we put them through to make them look good as well as to keep them healthy.
Our Three Step Teeth Cleaning Process
Step 1 – The vast majority of dogs respond to the world through scents and sounds. Let’s start with your puppy. First, prepare the toothbrush and toothpaste and place it near to your dog. You can introduce the cleaning implements by holding them under your puppy’s nose and then immediately providing a treat when they begin to sniff the scent. Do the same thing for the toothpaste, hold it close to his nose and then provide a treat. By doing this, you are associating the scent of the toothbrush and the toothpaste in his mind as pleasurable things, and this positive reinforcement can go along way later on!
Step 2 – After a few seconds, lift the side of your dog’s lips and give the teeth a precursory brush. Once done, provide another treat. Do this several times until your pet is fully relaxed and willing to accept the strange repetition. Again, this is all to give your dog a connection between the brushing motion and receiving a treat.
Step 3 – Now, add a liberal layer of toothpaste to the toothbrush’ bristles and hold it close to your puppy’s nose again, providing another treat. Slowly lift your dog’s lips up again and start brushing the teeth while voicing out praises for keeping calm. Try to keep this session short for now. Clean the visible sides of his teeth as quickly as possible and then rinse the mouth off with water. After all of this is done, provide another treat and give out more praise as an additional reward.
If you do this regularly enough, your puppy will look forward to teeth cleaning time because they know treats will soon be arriving. In your future sessions, you can lessen the amount of introduction and rewards and go right on ahead to cleaning the teeth. Given enough time, you’ll be able to clean your dog’s mouth more thoroughly as they become accustomed to this strange ritual. Just make sure you give out a treat afterwards and praise him for being a good boy. You can also replace the treats at the end with his favourite chew toy to make sure his teeth remain clean after brushing.
This type of training can also be applied to older dogs, but you’ll have to put in more patience and double your efforts to keep them from struggling.
The proper way to brush your dog’s teeth
There is also a prescribed way to properly brush your dog’s teeth. Just like with humans, brush your dog’s teeth with an up and down motion from the upper gum line to the lower gum line. This removes any food particles embedded in the spaces between the teeth as well as those trapped in between the teeth and the gums.
Start with one side of the jaw and work your way towards the other side.
If your dog is already accustomed to this grooming ritual, open your dog’s mouth and clean the inner sides of their teeth. Do this as quickly as you possibly can to avoid stressing your pet out. Make sure you brush the roof of his mouth as food particles as well as bacteria can flourish there if left unattended. Lastly, give his tongue a quick brush or two to remove food particles left there. Make sure you keep your dog as calm as possible all throughout this session and give him plenty of vocal praises and rewards.
How often should you brush your dog’s teeth?
There are different views on the regular schedules involved in brushing your dog’s teeth. How often should you do it? Once a week? Three times a week? Should it be a daily ritual? According to some veterinarians, it is best to clean your dog’s teeth once every 3 days.
Other helpful tips
Make sure you have your dog’s mouth and teeth checked out by the vet whenever you give him a visit so you can have professional help in terms of providing oral care to your dog.
Also consider sticking to dry food instead of wet food to minimize the amount of cleaning needed per week.