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How to Brush Your Dogs Teeth

How to Brush Your Dogs Teeth

The Dreaded Dental Chore

I have a confession to make: my dog’s breath stinks. Well, at least it used to before I started taking her oral hygiene seriously. Now that I brush her teeth regularly, I don’t turn my head away every time she jumps into my lap. Instead, I happily greet her, toothy grin and all.

Brushing a dog’s teeth may sound like a tedious chore, but trust me, it’s not that complicated. It just takes a couple of minutes a day to banish bad breath and plaque for good. And the benefits are huge – not only will your pup’s kisses be fresher, but you’ll also be preventing painful dental diseases down the line.

Of course, getting a dog to cooperate with tooth brushing isn’t always easy. I remember the first time I tried to stick a toothbrush in my pup’s mouth. She looked at me like I had three heads! But with a little patience and the right approach, you can turn tooth brushing into a positive experience for both you and your furry friend.

Laying the Groundwork

The key is to take things slow and make it an enjoyable process for your dog. Start by getting them comfortable with having their mouth touched. Rub your finger along their gums and teeth, giving them a treat afterwards. This will help them associate mouth handling with good things.

Next, introduce the toothbrush and toothpaste. Let your dog sniff and lick the toothpaste off your finger first. As the experts at Wirecutter recommend, you can even keep the dental supplies nearby as part of “exposure therapy” so your dog gets used to seeing them.

Once your pup is comfortable with the tools, you can start gently brushing a few teeth at a time. Be sure to give lots of praise and treats throughout the process. The goal is to make it a positive experience they look forward to, not something they dread.

Brushing Technique

Okay, so you’ve got your dog on board with tooth brushing – now what? The actual brushing part is pretty straightforward.

As VCA Hospitals advises, you’ll want to use a toothbrush designed specifically for dogs. These have softer bristles and an angled head to better reach those back molars. Veterinary-approved toothpaste is also a must, as human toothpaste can upset a dog’s stomach.

When brushing, focus on the outer surfaces of the teeth. Gently lift the lip and brush in small circles, working your way around. Aim for about 30 seconds per side, being careful not to irritate the gums. And don’t worry if you see a little bit of bleeding – as long as it’s not excessive, that’s normal.

The key is to make it a positive, stress-free experience. Keep things upbeat by talking to your dog, petting them, and ending on a high note with treats and praise. With consistency, brushing can become a beloved part of their daily routine.

Beyond Brushing

Of course, brushing isn’t the only way to keep your dog’s teeth healthy. The American Kennel Club recommends a multi-pronged approach, including dental chews, sprays, and professional cleanings.

Dental chews are a great option for dogs who won’t tolerate brushing. Look for ones with the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval, which means they’ve been proven to reduce plaque and tartar. Just be sure to supervise your pup, as some designs can be choking hazards.

Dental sprays are also a quick and easy solution, especially for those days when brushing just ain’t happening. These sprays help kill bacteria and freshen breath with minimal effort.

And don’t forget about regular professional cleanings. Even the most diligent home care can’t match what a veterinary dentist can do. They’ll be able to scale below the gum line and identify any underlying issues. As WebMD points out, severe infections can even spread to other organs, so these cleanings are crucial.

A Lifetime of Healthy Smiles

If the thought of brushing your dog’s teeth regularly makes you cringe, I get it. It’s not the most glamorous part of pet parenthood. But trust me, it’s so worth it in the long run.

By taking just a few minutes each day, you can help prevent painful dental diseases and keep your pup’s smile sparkling for years to come. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love getting big, wet kisses from a happy, healthy dog?

So grab that toothbrush, put on your best upbeat attitude, and get to work. Your dog (and your nose) will thank you. And don’t forget to visit for all your canine care and adoption needs!

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