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Hamish Dental Training

How To Brush Your Dog's Teeth at Home

We all know the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene but not many people know how important it is to keep your dog’s teeth nice and healthy. Dog’s (and cats) require regular dental care to maintain their overall health and well-being.  

While a trip to the veterinarian for professional teeth cleaning is necessary at some stage in your pet’s life, there are some simple steps you can do at home to help prevent dental issues and maintain your dog’s teeth and gum health. 

Let’s take a look at the process of brushing your dog’s teeth at home, making it a positive experience for both you and your dog. 

Why brushing your dog’s teeth matters 

Just like us, dogs can suffer from dental problems like plaque buildup, tartar, gum disease and even tooth decay.  These issues can lead to pain, bad breath, and potentially impact your dog’s overall health. Regular brushing helps remove food particles and bacteria that can lead to these problems. 

Getting started on brushing your dog’s teeth

You’ll need a dog specific toothbrush (either a finger brush or a pet specific toothbrush with soft bristles) and toothpaste formulated for dogs. Human toothpaste is not safe for pets as it can contain harmful ingredients. 

Introduce your dog slowly to the process and get them comfortable with the tools. Allow them to sniff and explore the toothbrush and toothpaste. Practice by rubbing some tasty peanut butter or flavoured toothpaste that they love so they get used to you touching around their mouth. This can help reduce anxiety and make the brushing process easier. 

Step by Step Guide on brushing your dog's teeth 

Start Slowly: Behind by lifting your dog’s lips and gently touching their teeth and gums so they become used to having their mouth touched. Do this with something tasty or give a treat at the end to associate the experience with something positive.   

Choose the Right Moment: Choose a calm time for brushing, preferably when your dog is relaxed. Avoid brushing immediately after meals or play because your dog may be to active and not in the right mindset.  

Apply Toothpaste: Use a small amount of dog friendly toothpaste on the brush. Let your dog taste the toothpaste as they come in different flavours that can be appealing to dogs. And for extra dental care, you can even use a dental water additive like Aquadent Fresh Dental Water for dogs and cats to keep their teeth healthy

Gently Brush: Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and brush in small motions, focus on the outer surfaces of the teeth, as that is where plaque tends to accumulate. Pay extra attention to the back teeth, as they are more susceptible to issues and harder to reach.  

Positive Reinforcement: During brushing, offer praise, pets, and treats to reinforce a positive experience. Keep the sessions short at first and gradually increase the duration as your dog becomes more comfortable.  

Gradual Progression: If your dog is not used to brushing teeth, don’t force it. Start with a few seconds and gradually work your way up to a full two-minute brushing session.  

Be Patient:  It might take time for your dog to used to the routine. Consistency and patience is key. Make it a part of your regular grooming routine to establish the habit so you can do it as often as possible. 

Tips for successful teeth brushing 

Aim to brush your dog’s teeth at least 2-3 times per week or more if possible. Consistency is crucial for maintaining good oral hygiene. 

Regular veterinary dental checkups are essential, and your vet can identify any issues early on and provide professional cleaning when necessary. 

Provide dental friendly toys and treats such as OraVet that can help reduce plaque buildup and keep your dog’s teeth clean.  

Feed your dog high quality dog food that can also contribute to their dental health.  

Brushing your dog’s teeth at home might require some patience and persistence, but the benefits far outweigh the effort. A healthy mouth leads to a healthier, happier dog. By following these steps, you can ensure that your dog has a solid dental plan in place at home that can complement any dental requirements from your veterinarian. A little effort today can go a long way in preventing dental problems as your pet ages. 

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