Brushing Your Dog's Teeth: A Guide For New Dog Owners

Posted on: 26 April 2016


Surely you spend a lot of time caring for your own teeth, but what about your dog's teeth? As a new dog owner, it's important to get acquainted with the idea of brushing your dog's teeth, since doing so can help prevent a wide array of dental problems. Here's a closer look at the hows and whys behind canine teeth brushing.

What are the benefits of brushing your dog's teeth?

Dogs' teeth develop plaque and tartar, just like your own teeth do. This plaque can lead to tooth decay, since it harbors oral bacteria that secretes damaging acids. It can also lead to gum infections, which are not only painful for your dog, but could potentially cause tooth loss and even spread into other tissues, like the blood or heart, leading to death.

By brushing your dog's teeth, you're removing this plaque before it has the chance to cause too much damage. The brushing motion also stimulates the gums, increasing the circulation to this area to help heal any lesions or sores that might develop.

Brushing your dog's teeth also gets him or her used to having the mouth handled, which will make it easier for your vet to get a good look in your dog's mouth during an exam. A dog that has never had its teeth brushed will be more resistant to letting the vet look in its mouth and may require sedation to make this possible.

How do you brush your dog's teeth?

Some dogs adapt to tooth brushing faster than others. If possible, you should start this routine when your dog is still a puppy. Purchase a canine toothbrush and some canine toothpaste. Do not use human toothpaste – it contains ingredients that could be harmful if your dog swallows it.

Kneel in front of your dog, and stroke him to keep him calm. Let the dog lick and sniff the toothbrush. Practice touching your dog around the mouth and gently peeling the gums back to show off the teeth. If your dog seems nervous about this, then just repeat this part of the exercise for a few days until he or she is more comfortable – then start introducing actual brushing. Apply canine toothpaste to the brush, and then brush the teeth slowly and gently. It's okay if you only get a few teeth the first time. Your dog will adapt over time, and within a week or two, you'll be able to clean them all.

For best results, make sure you brush your dog's teeth at least 3 days a week. Daily is even better if you can manage it. Your efforts will pay off in the long run as your dog's teeth and gums remain in good health. Contact a business, such as the All-Pets Hospital, for more information.