Cleaning your dog’s teeth is an important part of their dental care routine. After all, the most frequently diagnosed condition in dogs is gum disease and, in some cases, this leads to tooth loss (and potentially further problems).
Keeping a dog’s mouth healthy as it can be requires regular attention. Unlike humans, dogs can’t clean their own teeth so as an owner it is your responsibility to help keep those teeth looking nice and healthy! Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly is a great way to maintain great dental health in the long-term. Ideally you will be able to brush your dog’s teeth every day.
Cleaning dogs’ teeth is not always the easiest task in the world, so we’ve put together a guide to get you started.
Requirements for cleaning dogs’ teeth
- A toothbrush that is the correct size for your dog’s mouth. For large or medium sized dogs use an adult sized human toothbrush, for small dogs use a child-sized toothbrush, and for miniature dogs buy a special pet toothbrush from your vet or local pet shop.
- Dog toothpaste (human toothpaste can be harmful to dogs so make sure you do not use it under any circumstances).
- A calm and relaxed environment without distractions.
Before you start brushing dogs’ teeth
- Keep brushing sessions short – It’s important to keep sessions to no more than two minutes or your dog will find the procedure tiresome and will be less likely to accept it. It’s probably best to keep the sessions shorter at first and gradually increase the time as your dog becomes more used to the routine.
- Pick the right time - Assess your daily routine and allocate a slot when you’ll always be free for brushing your dog’s teeth. Over time, this will help your dog get more used to the routine.
- Introduce each stage gradually – It’s important not to move too quickly initially. This will help your dog get used to the process.
- Praise – Ensure that you give your dog a lot of praise. However, it’s important to only reward good behaviour.
- Remember – Every dog is different, so your experience of cleaning dogs’ teeth may vary. Some dogs will accept brushing more willingly, while others may be more resistant. However, if you stay calm and follow our guidelines, after enough time, your dog should become used to the process.
The teeth cleaning routine
Learn exactly how to clean dog’s teeth with a simple teeth cleaning routine:
- Getting your dog used to the toothpaste – Place a small drop of toothpaste on your finger and let your dog lick it. Pet toothpaste is specially designed so that animals like the taste. Your dog should want to eat the toothpaste.
- Introducing the toothbrush – Wet the toothbrush with some water and add the recommended amount of toothpaste then push it down into the bristles. Lightly brush your dog’s teeth – these are the lengthiest teeth. Lift your dogs lip up, then brush the canine teeth on this side. A good piece of advice is that you should not begin with the incisor teeth at the front of the mouth. This is a more sensitive area of the mouth so your dog is likely to be more resistant to cleaning there.
- Brushing dogs’ teeth further back – After brushing the front teeth, start to brush teeth further back in your dog’s mouth. To get to the molar teeth you will need to slip the brush past the corner of the lips inside the cheeks. If this is difficult, you might want to use a smaller brush for this part. Brush the upper teeth first and then allow the mouth to open slightly to be able to brush just along the gum line of the lower teeth. It’s important to increase the brushing gradually and monitor your dog’s mood throughout. If there’s a negative reaction then you should stop immediately and restart at a later time.
- Brushing all teeth – Once your dog is relatively comfortable with the procedure you should be able to brush the outside of all teeth. You can also brush for longer if you want to clean your dog’s mouth more rigorously.
Cleaning dogs’ teeth is an important part of any healthy dog’s life. By following these simple steps and introducing your dog gradually to the brushing routine, your dog will not only learn to enjoy the procedure, but will also enjoy a healthier set of teeth for longer. Remember, they can also enjoy a daily Purina® Dentalife® chew to help them keep their teeth healthy, too. This is because Dentalife is designed to reach those hard to find teeth at the back of a dog’s mouth.