How to clean your dog’s teeth
Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth will help keep their gums and teeth clean, contributing to their long-term wellbeing as well as helping to prevent or fight gum disease.
Although it’s not exactly natural for your dog to have their teeth brushed, it’s wise to introduce dental care when they are puppies and gradually build it in to your pet’s routine.
Petplan explores your dog’s dental care, giving you top tips on how to clean your dog’s teeth…
Inside your dog’s mouth
A dog’s teeth are mainly used for eating, however they come in handy when playing and chewing toys too. Like humans, dogs have two sets of teeth in their life! Between three to six weeks of age, a puppy’s first set of 28 teeth arrive.
At about four months old, their puppy teeth fall out and are replaced by 42 adult teeth. Once your dog’s adult teeth begin to grow, you should gradually begin introducing dental care such as brushing your dog’s teeth.
What do you need to clean your dog’s teeth?
When you introduce daily dental care with your dog, always try to choose a quiet place and time when your dog isn’t hungry nor tired. This will increase the chances of your dog will sit still for a tooth-brushing session.
Make sure you have the right equipment for brushing your dog’s teeth:
- Tooth brush — A soft bristle brush is ideal for small dogs. For a larger dog, you can use an adult size tooth brush with medium bristles. Alternatively, you can also use a specially designed brush that has a tapered head sitting at an angle to the handle, so that your dog’s cheek teeth can be reached
- Toothpaste for pets — introduce the taste of toothpaste to your pet before beginning to brush their teeth. Poultry or malt-flavoured toothpastes are safe for animals to swallow. Let your dog lick the toothpaste off your hand and gradually transition them to licking the toothpaste off the toothbrush. Do not use human toothpastes
How to brush your dog’s teeth
You should gradually introduce your dog to tooth brushing by allowing him to taste the toothpaste and by encouraging him to get used to something in his mouth like your finger.
When your dog seems calm with you sliding your finger under his top lip (be careful when doing this and be sure to gently hold their muzzle shut), you can start to bring in brushing.
With a wet toothbrush and a small amount of toothpaste, start to brush the outer surfaces of the teeth in a gentle circular action, with the bristles directed at an angle of 45 degrees towards the gum line to clean under the gum where the teeth meet it.
You may find it easier to start with the side teeth towards the front rather than at the very front, as this area is more sensitive. Remember to stop as soon as your pet resists.
Gradually develop your own routine. Each session, brush more teeth at a time as you work towards the back of the mouth. You only need to brush the outer surfaces of the teeth as your pet’s tongue will do the inner surfaces naturally. Always remember to praise and reward your pet after a successful teeth cleaning.
Do you have any tips for cleaning your dog’s teeth? Let us know in the comments below…