You already know why you should brush your dog’s teeth.
But the HOW? That’s a completely different story.
If you feel totally lost (or just really nervous) about brushing your dog’s teeth, we can help!
We’ve put together some top-secret tips to teach you how to brush your dog’s teeth … without losing your sanity!
7 Secrets to Make Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth Easy
1. Make a Plan, Stan
Mark it on your calendar: you’ll want to brush your dog’s teeth 2 weeks from today.
Wait, what?! I want to start now!
Don’t worry – you’re going to be busy during this time! Over the next 2 weeks, you’ll be getting your dog used to you handling his mouth. This will pay off big-time when you introduce the toothbrush!
Here’s your assignment: each day, dip your finger into broth, tuna juice or some other treat, then rub your finger on your dog’s teeth and gums. Try to increase your time with each session. At first, it’s fine if your dog just wants to keep his jaws closed. As your sessions progress, try to open your dog’s mouth to reach the back upper molars.
Pointer: If you have a “chomper” and are worried about handling your dog’s mouth, practice teaching your dog to take treats gently before you start this process.
2. Praise Your Pup
Dogs are natural people-pleasers. Your calm and steady praise as you touch your dog’s mouth will reassure your pup that he’s doing a great job.
3. Grab a Partner
When you embark down the path of dog tooth brushing, it’s a lot easier to have a partner to help you. One of you can praise and pet the dog while the other handles the brushing duties. Once you get the hang of it, doggy toothbrushing will be a one-person job.
Every time you brush or handle your dog’s mouth, give a treat afterwards. If your dog is food motivated, bust out the biscuits. If your dog is motivated by play, have the tennis ball close by. Treat your dog even if things didn’t go well so that a positive association with tooth brushing is developed.
5. Don’t Try to Be a Hero
As you begin dog tooth brushing, try to keep your expectations under control. It may not go well at first, and you may only be able to brush for a few seconds.
That’s OK. Keep at it. The ultimate goal is to brush each tooth for about 5 seconds. Just focus on the outside (cheek-facing) surfaces of the teeth. This is where dog periodontal (gum) disease is most common.
How often should you brush your dog’s teeth? Daily is best or at least 3 times a week.
6. Select a Dog Toothbrush.
The dog toothbrush you choose will really depend on the size of your dog and what works best for you both. For small dogs, you can use a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger or a cotton swab. Finger brushes are also a great choice for dogs of all sizes. You can find them in the baby aisle at most stores. If you want to use a toothbrush, make sure it’s a doggy toothbrush (they’re designed to fit a dog’s mouth better). You can find dog toothbrushes at any pet store.
7. Buy a Dog Toothpaste.
Fluoride, sweeteners and baking soda in human toothpaste can give your pet an upset stomach or worse. There are many dog toothpastes on the market in different flavors, ranging from bacon to poultry. Many owners prefer an unflavored pet toothpaste so that their dogs sit still and don’t try to chew up the toothbrush.
Now You’re Ready to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
OK, you’re armed with all those great tips … now it’s time to brush your dog’s teeth. YOU CAN DO IT!
6 Simple Steps for Doggy Tooth Brushing
Step 1: Choose a time of day when your dog is relaxed.
Step 2: Have all your supplies ready to go.
Step 3: Kneel or sit in front of your dog. Never hold your dog down or hover above, as this body language is threatening to a dog.
Step 4: Put toothpaste on the brush or gauze. (Psst … Oxyfresh Pet Dental Gel is our favorite.)
Step 5: Gently lift the lips of your dog’s mouth with one hand. With the other hand, gently brush each tooth at a 45-degree angle using circular strokes. Remember – just focus on the outside tooth surfaces.
Step 6: TREAT!
Congrats on starting the journey of dog tooth brushing. It really is one of the best things we can do for our furry friends’ health and happiness. Want more great info on caring for your pet’s teeth? Check out Must-Know Dog Dental Care FAQ.
We love to see all those awesome doggy smiles! Share a pic of your cutie patootie below.