Proper dental care is an important part of your dog’s overall health. This may include proper check-ups and even brushing your dog’s teeth. While you may be used to brushing your teeth, what about your furry friend? Naturally, if you’re a new pet owner, you may have questions. Fortunately, we sat down with Trupanion veterinarian Dr. Caroline Wilde to learn more about how to brush a dog’s teeth and tips to keep your pet’s teeth healthy year-round.
How to brush a dog’s teeth
Whether this is your first-time brushing your dog’s teeth or you’re a seasoned pro, it may be a different experience with each dog. Naturally, depending on your dog’s age, breed, or temperament they may react differently to getting their teeth brushed. Wilde breaks down some steps to consider before you get started.
First, I would start with a complete physical exam so that your veterinarian can make appropriate recommendations regarding dentistry and treatment planning. Also, they can advise any concerns for your pet to begin home dental care.
Your veterinarian most likely has “starter kits” with toothbrushes and toothpaste. If not, then I would go to the pet store and buy pet toothpaste and toothbrushes, keeping the size of your dog’s mouth in mind when choosing a toothbrush. They make little finger toothbrushes which some pet owners prefer. For more on dog toothpaste, click here.
Brushing your dog’s teeth may be no different than brushing your teeth. For example, try small circles along the gum line with a soft-bristled toothbrush, or what your veterinarian recommends.
Start slowly with a short duration of brushing activity.
Reward your dog for their cooperation, then slowly increase the periods’ duration.
As with any new activity, take your time and give your pet the chance to get used to the situation. Also, make sure your dog is comfortable and calm while trying to do the activity. If they become excited or uncomfortable, consider stopping and trying another time.
The benefits of brushing your dog’s teeth
There are a wide variety of benefits to keeping up with your pet’s dental routine. For example, not only does it help keep your pet’s teeth clean, but also can help with other pet health conditions. Wilde points out additional benefits to keeping your best friend’s teeth and gums clean.
Oral health affects overall health.
Dental disease can be extremely painful, and home dental care can improve quality of life.
You may appreciate your dog’s fresher breath.
As imagined, dental disease can occur at any time. Also, poor dental health can be linked to heart disease and cancer. Further, proper dental cleaning and check-ins with your veterinarian can help keep your pet happy and healthy.
How often should you brush your dog’s teeth?
Now that you’ve gotten the hang of brushing your best friend’s teeth, you may wonder what schedule to maintain to keep your pet’s teeth clean. For example, “on average you should try to brush your dog’s teeth 1-2 times a day,” says Wilde. While daily brushing is ideal for your pet, your veterinarian may have additional recommendations based on your dog’s age or breed.
Tips for brushing your dog’s teeth
It may take your dog time to become used to getting their teeth brushed. Fortunately, Wilde has a few pointers to help along the way.
Start as soon as your veterinarian says it’s okay, generally the sooner the better.
Try to create a positive experience around teeth brushing. After all, this can be a bonding activity. Incorporate treats, a game, and make it fun for your pet.
Consider making it apart of your pet’s normal routine. If your pet is expecting it, it may make it easier for your pet to expect it with their walk, playtime, or mealtime.
Reward them with a treat! This can help establish a fun and exciting event that they can look forward to with their favorite person.
You may want to talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s dental care during their first wellness visit. Also, your veterinarian can check out your best friend’s teeth and recommend a treatment plan, including dental regimen, schedule, and tips for your furry friend.
Brushing a dog’s teeth can become a part of their everyday activities
Brushing your dog’s teeth can help keep them in optimal health. Naturally, as your dog ages, your pet’s dental health may change. But by talking with your veterinarian, sticking to a treatment plan, and maintaining daily cleaning, your pet can have a healthy smile for years to come!
How do you brush your dog’s teeth? Tell us in the comments below.
is a digital content writer and editor for Trupanion. She spends her workday writing for the Trupanion blog. She loves writing about pets, being inspired by pets, and luckily gets to hang out with her rescue dogs all day long. In her free time, she enjoys exploring and traveling with her family. Her work has been featured on the DOGTV blog, KitNipBox blog, Get Your Pet blog, Fansided, among many others.