How to brush your dog's teeth

Brushing a pet's teeth may seem like a daunting, stressful, and sometimes dangerous task. But, if started early and performed often, can be instrumental in managing their dental health.

The main things you need to get started with is a good toothpaste, toothbrush, technique, and training.

The toothpaste

Enzymatic toothpastes are best for pets because they allow for the breakdown of tartar. These pastes can be used in various ways, even if your pet does not allow for traditional brushing of the teeth with actual bristles.

The technique

The effectiveness of brushing a pets teeth is depending on the brush, duration, and technique used, according to the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). Pets general acquire most tartar and plaque on the upper teeth and those on the cheek surfaces. These areas should be targeted as routinely as possible. Light consistent pressure with horizontal strokes  on the teeth is best.

Train them to succeed

Training is key when it come to your pet’s oral health. Getting them acclimated to their mouth being manipulated is most important.

  1. Start off small with some nut-butter on your finger and let them lick the tasty treat directly.
  2. Move on to “brushing” the outer teeth with the nut-butter.
  3. Switch from but-butter treats to flavored enzymatic toothpaste.
  4. Follow the same steps when introducing the toothbrush.

Who would have thought brushing could be so complicated, am I right?! While these are the best recommended method, you still shouldn’t stress.  Most veterinary dentists and veterinarians would agree that in most cases any brushing of any style is better than no brushing! 

Alternatives to traditional brushing

If your pup is not a fan of traditional brushing, there are still some options available! Some of our favorites include:

  • Placing toothpaste on finger and directly apply to teeth
  • Apply paste to a soft plastic/chew toy and allow pet to lick and bite toy

How to brush your pets teeth? by VOHC

Happy Brushing!

Dr. Nicky


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