A dog’s overall dental health contributes to their general health and happiness. A healthy happy dog is a happy dog and keeps owners smiling.

Before using a brush or paste you need to teach your dog that it can be fun to have your fingers in his/her mouth.

How?

The 4-step training process to brushing your dogs teeth.

STEP 1

Dip your finger in something like peanut butter or something similar that he or she likes and let him/her lick your finger. As they do this gently rub your finger along the sides of the teeth and gums. Then carefully lift their lips as you would when brushing.

Repeat a couple times a day for 2-3 days. Just before the end of the process introduce the doggie toothpaste you have chosen to get them used to the smell and taste. (NEVER use human toothpaste)

Note: It may take a couple of weeks to complete, but it will help your dog view brushing as a positive activity.

When your dog is comfortable with your fingers in his/her mouth you can move on to teaching him/her to accept you opening his/her mouth. Ensure you have lots of healthy treats to hand as positive reinforcement.

  • Gradually work up to opening his/her mouth for just a few seconds increasing the time slowly and reward with treats.

  • Do this 8-10 times a session over several days.

Note: if your dog struggles during any of the exercises above, gently but firmly continue to hold his/her muzzle until he/she stops. As soon as he/she stops struggling and holds still for 1 second, release his/her muzzle.

You may have progressed a bit too fast, therefore, go back and practice the previous steps for a few more days. When he/her seems comfortable at that step for 2 or 3 days, then try moving to the next step again. Only when he/she is calm and relaxed about you exploring his/her mouth and moving your fingers along teeth and gums can you move on to brushing.

STEP 2

Place a small amount of the paste on your pet’s large canine teeth in front. This gets your dog used to having something placed against his/her teeth and gums. Do this step for several days, again, follow it with a reward and praise.

STEP 3

Introduce the toothbrush that you will use for regular brushing. Place some dog toothpaste on it and allow your dog to lick it from the brush. This will allow your dog to get familiar with the texture and of having the brush near his/her teeth and gums. Praise and reward your dog, and repeat this step for several days.

STEP 4

In the final step, you will actually brush your dog’s teeth.

  • Gently hold back your dog’s lips and hold the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gum-line. Brush the outside of each tooth, moving the brush gently back and forth.

  • Talk to your dog in a soothing voice and always follow brushing sessions with a treat.

  • Brush just a few teeth the first time, and gradually lengthen the session each time until you’re brushing all the teeth.

When you finish, make sure that you reward him/her with lots of petting and praise. The rewards and praise will help him/her associate brushing as a positive, rewarding experience.

Types of Toothbrush for Dogs

There are many options for brushes and toothpastes out there for puppies and dogs. From toothbrushes that look like they are for humans to finger brushes. Remember to always pick something that is designed for a dog, fits comfortably in your dogs mouth and is soft enough, so it doesn’t irritate their gums.

Types of Toothpaste

Doggie toothpastes come in many flavours including; liver, mint, chicken and peanut butter. NEVER use human toothpaste for a dog. Although your best friend may love the taste of mint, most human toothpastes have higher levels of fluoride in them. Therefore, your dog could develop fluoride toxicity much quicker than a human. Furthermore, most human toothpastes have salts, detergents and baking soda, all of which can harm your dogs teeth. If you are not sure were to start, we recommend the Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Kit (Check out on Amazon)

How Should You Brush A Dogs Teeth?

Like humans, dogs eat every day. Therefore, ideally, you’ll brush your dog’s teeth every day, but not less than a few times per week.

If time is tight, give your dog’s teeth a quick clean with dental pads They kill bacteria on the surface, leaving his/her mouth fresh. Remember just a couple of minutes a day of dental care, will go a long way towards preventing plaque buildup and periodontal disease.

Types of dental pads available online:

  • PPP Aromacare Dental wipes – Contains the natural cleansing power of Apple Essence, Baking soda, and Fresh Mint to help keep the teeth and gums clean and healthy! Convenient for daily use and dog love the taste! 

  • YuCARE – Tooth Cleaner For Cats & Dogs

  • ProDen – Plaque Off for Dogs & Cats

How much time should be spend brushing a dogs teeth?

Try to brush for at least 30 seconds per side of their mouth during each session.

Note: Its important to be mindful that smaller dogs and puppies with flat or short broad snouts like pugs, bulldogs, etc, often require more frequent brushing, because their mouths are smaller, so their teeth are more crowded together. They are more prone to plaque build-up and so more likely to develop periodontal disease.