For most people, we brush our teeth twice a day for good dental health. However, we don’t consider our dogs teeth, yet we often complain about them having “dog breath”. If we want our dogs to have “fresh breath”, we need to take care of their teeth like we take care of our own.
The best dental health for our dogs is to brush their teeth daily. To teach your dog to have his teeth brushed, you need to go slow and be patient. Here are the steps to take to teach your dog to tolerate their teeth being brushed.
- Peanut butter (if needed)
- Pet tooth paste (any flavor they may like)
- Finger brush
- Soft child tooth brush or pet tooth brush
- If your dog is at all unsure of you handling his mouth, put a small amount of toothpaste on your finger and rub onto teeth and gums. If you dog is VERY unsure, spend a few sessions just having him lick the peanut butter off your finger, then move to rubbing it on his gums.
- Once your dog is comfortable with you rubbing his teeth and gums, repeat the same procedure using the toothpaste (this is to ensure your dog likes the flavor you chose).
- Now you’re ready to put the pet toothpaste on a finger brush and rub your dog’s teeth and gums.
- You may choose to continue using the finger brush or try the pet tooth brush. If using the tooth brush, gently brush your dog’s teeth and gums using the tooth brush.
Many dogs enjoy the taste of the toothpaste, but it is beneficial to give them a treat each time you brush their teeth. This will encourage them to let you brush more easily.
It is very helpful to make a routine of brushing your dog’s teeth. I do it every night when I brush my teeth. My dogs actually come into the bathroom when I brush my own teeth, waiting for their turn!
Daily brushing is best, but do it as often as you can.
Teeth brushing is best for your dog’s dental health but if your dog completely resists, chewing is the next best thing. Chewing dental bones, bully sticks and other chewing products will help clean your dog’s teeth naturally. There are also mouth washes and solutions that can be added to their water to keep their breath smelling fresh.
When you keep your dog’s teeth clean, you’re not only helping them have better breath but you are improving their health. As with humans, poor dental hygiene can lead to bone loss in their jaw (which can lead to a broken jaw), heart and liver disease and undetected pain.
The best way to make sure you taking care of your dogs’ teeth is to create a routine. Doing one of these options daily helps keep their teeth healthy, and makes it easiest to remember!