Your dog’s teeth are a big part of keeping your dog happy and healthy. Good dental hygiene means that your dog has healthier, stronger teeth and gums, which can help prevent painful and sometimes, dangerous dental issues. It is recommended that you brush your dog’s teeth on a regular basis to keep his gums and teeth healthy, but not all dog’s are fans of having their teeth brushed. It’s not a natural action for them, to have their mouths held open and a toothbrush or wiped, run across their teeth. If you have difficulties getting your dog’s teeth brushed, we have a few tips for you. Keep reading to find out five tips for brushing your dog’s teeth.
You can’t just rush in and start brushing a dog’s teeth who have never had this done before. They don’t know or understand what you are doing and it can be frightening for them, or make them nervous. For some dogs, this can lead to biting or growling. Acclimate your dog slowly to the process. Start by gently inserting your finger(s) into his mouth and try to run your finger over his teeth. Get him used to having your hands and fingers around and in his mouth before attempting to use a foreign object, like a toothbrush, in his mouth. Stick with this for a few days before introducing the toothbrush.
2. Choose a gentle dog toothbrush
Nothing too abrasive should be used on your dog’s teeth. Don’t use a human toothbrush and don’t choose one that has hard bristles. Gentle and soft bristles will do the trick without hurting your dog’s teeth and gums. Keep your dog’s toothbrush clean and dry when not used to help prevent bacterial growth, and don’t let hour dog chew on it like a toy when it’s not being used, as this will destroy the bristles and cause them to be less effective, or cause damage to the gums due to damage to the bristles.
3. Use flavored tooth paste
Dogs are not like people where they prefer a nice, minty toothpaste. They don’t care about their breath, and they are not naturally drawn to these flavors. Dogs prefer meat and other canine type flavors, so pick one that will interest and entice your dog into getting his teeth brushed. The more you can cater to him and help him to enjoy the process, the easier it will be each time you go to start the process.
4. Use gentle strokes
Just like in your own mouth, you want to approach brushing your dog’s teeth with care. You do not want to be too aggressive or harsh due to the risk of causing gums to bleed. Use the same type angular moves with the toothbrush in your dog’s mouth, as you would with your own toothbrush, and use soft gentle motions and strokes around the gums, to prevent bleeding. If you find your dog’s mouth to be too sensitive to tooth brushing and bleeds easily, you may want to switch to using sponges for cleanings instead of a brush. Keep in mind that although you want to be thorough, you also want to be quick with the process so that he doesn’t get irritated and lose his patience.
5. Treat your dog
Dogs love treats and will give their best efforts for good behavior when they are being rewarded for their good behavior. Keep treats on hand in order to keep rewarding him as he sits there and allows you to dilly dally in his mouth. The more you work with him and reward him the same way each time, the better he will be each episode. He may even learn to enjoy it.