Dental Hygiene Unleashed: A Simple Guide to Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

A dog's mouth is an important indicator of their overall health. Proper dental care, much like for humans, is essential for dogs to keep them free from dental disease and to promote a long and healthy life!

Why Brushing Your Dog's Teeth is Important

Dental disease in dogs can lead to bad breath, painful chewing, and even tooth loss. A consistent and effective dental care regimen can prevent these problems and the more serious complications that can arise if left unchecked, such as infections or heart, liver, and kidney issues.

Here’s how to make brushing your dog’s teeth fun for everyone:

  1. Choose the Right ToolsOpt for a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste
  • There are a few toothbrush styles to choose from, including a more traditional handled brush and a brush you can wear on your finger! Try a few out with your dog to see which one they prefer. 
  • Human toothpastes contain ingredients that are harmful to pets. Choosing a dog specific toothpaste ensures that it is safe for your pet to swallow. With a variety of dog-friendly flavours like chicken or beef, this also helps create a more positive experience for your pup!
  1. Ease Your Dog into It: Slow and steady wins the race!
  • It's best to start introducing the process of brushing your dog’s teeth when they are still a young puppy but don’t be discouraged, even old dogs can learn new tricks! It's never too late to start!
  • Before diving straight into brushing, let your dog taste the toothpaste. You can do this for a few days to reinforce this taste as a positive experience. Then you can start to gently massage their lips with your fingers in a circular motion for a minute and when they’ve become used to this, you can then move on to the teeth and gums.
  1. Focus On Where It Matters Most: Make it count!
  • Some dogs will only tolerate a few seconds of brushing, so while it's ideal to brush all surfaces of the teeth, focussing on the most common spots for plaque and tartar build up will help you be the most effective.
  • The biggest trouble spots for our doggy friends are along the outsides of the molars, where the tooth meets the inside surface of the cheek and at the gum line.
  • The easiest way to target these areas is to start by facing your dog, and gently hold the mouth closed. Slide the toothbrush into one side of his/her mouth, in the ‘cheek pocket’ and rub the toothbrush along the surface of the teeth.
  • If your dog is comfortable with this, then go ahead and move to the other surfaces and teeth.
  • We love a good routine, so aim for daily tooth brushing for the most impact!
  1. Keep It Positive: They deserve a reward!
  • After each brushing session, reward your dog with praise, petting, or a special treat - bonus points if it's a dental treat! 

The Vetwell Touch

While daily brushing is essential, even the most diligent pet owners might miss some spots. At VetWell Rockcliffe Animal Hospital, our dedicated, state-of-the-art dental surgery suite ensures that your dog receives the best care possible. Our knowledgeable team can tackle those hard-to-reach areas and provide comprehensive oral health assessments and treatments.

Key Takeaway

Just as we maintain our oral hygiene to ensure our overall health, our dogs deserve the same care. Start your dog's dental regimen today, and if you ever have concerns or questions, our skilled team at VetWell Rockcliffe Animal Hospital is always here to guide you. Remember, a healthy mouth is a key component of a happy, healthy dog.

A dog’s mouth is a busy place! If you’ve ever wondered just how many teeth your dog has, here is a look at a canine dental chart! You’ll see that dogs have incisors, premolars and molars, just like us!

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