Just like people, dogs are susceptible to developing tooth decay and gum disease. In severe cases, this can even lead to the loss of teeth, making malnutrition and other health problems more likely. Save your pup from the pain of unhealthy teeth and gums by getting into a regular brushing routine. And don’t forget to schedule professional teeth cleanings at your veterinary office!
Choosing the Right Tools
Head to your local pet store and look for a doggy toothbrush. It’s smaller than a human’s toothbrush, and it features softer bristles. While you’re there, pick up a finger toothbrush too. You may need to try both before you figure out which one works for your dog. A finger toothbrush fits right over your finger. Some dogs tolerate this type better, and some people find it easier to maneuver and control within the dog’s mouth. Next, you’ll need toothpaste formulated specifically for dogs. Never use human toothpaste for your pup! Fluoride can be fatal for dogs.
Teaching Your Dog to Tolerate Mouth Touching
The next step is to convince your dog to tolerate your fingers near and in his or her mouth. Start by petting your dog in all the places he or she loves. Then, move your hands to the muzzle, gently petting and scratching. Lift the muzzle, and try to keep it lifted for about 30 seconds. Reward your dog with a treat. During the next training session, repeat these steps, but run your fingers over the teeth for about 30 seconds.
Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
Next, put a dab of toothpaste on the doggy brush and let your dog lick it. You may need to try a few different flavors to find one your pup likes. When your dog seems comfortable with the brush and paste, use gentle, circular motions to brush your pet’s teeth. Get the upper outer surfaces first, as these are most likely to accumulate plaque.
Horizon Animal Hospital strongly encourages puppy parents to get their dogs’ teeth cleaned and polished on a routine basis. New and current clients in Scottsdale, AZ can reach us at (480) 800-4559. Our veterinarians look forward to helping you prevent gum disease and tooth decay in your pooch!