Proper dental care is an important part of your dog’s overall health. This can include a proper exam and even brushing your dog’s teeth. While you may be used to brushing your teeth, what about your furry friend? Obviously, if you’re a new pet owner, you may have questions. Fortunately, we got in touch with the Trupanion veterinarian, Dr. Caroline Wilde put together to learn more about brushing a dog’s teeth and tips to keep your pet’s teeth healthy year round.
How to brush a dog’s teeth
Whether it is your first time brushing your dog’s teeth or you are a seasoned professional, each dog can have a different experience. Depending on the age, breed or temperament of your dog, they will of course react differently to brushing their teeth. Wilde breaks down a few steps to consider before you begin.
- First, I would start with a full physical exam so your veterinarian can make appropriate recommendations about dentistry and treatment planning. They can also tell your pet any concerns about starting dental care at home.
- Your vet most likely has “starter kits” of toothbrushes and toothpaste. If not, I would go to the pet store and buy toothpaste and toothbrushes for pets, considering the size of your dog’s mouth when choosing a toothbrush. They make tiny finger toothbrushes that some pet owners prefer. You can find more information about dog toothpaste here.
- Brushing your dog’s teeth may not be any different from brushing their teeth. For example, try making small circles along the gumline with a soft-bristled toothbrush or whatever your veterinarian recommends.
- Start slowly with a short brush duration.
- Reward your dog for working together, then slowly increase the length of the periods.
As with any new activity, take your time and allow your pet to get used to the situation. Also, make sure your dog is comfortable and calm while you try to do the activity. If they get excited or uncomfortable, another time should stop and try.
The Benefits of Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
There are a variety of benefits to keeping up with your pet’s dental routine. For example, not only does it help keep your pet’s teeth clean, but it can also help with other animal health conditions. Wilde points out additional benefits for keeping your best friend’s teeth and gums clean.
- Oral health affects overall health.
- Dental disease can be extremely painful and home dental care can improve the quality of life.
- You can appreciate your dog’s fresher breath.
As expected, dental diseases can occur at any time. Poor dental health can also be linked to heart disease and cancer. In addition, proper teeth cleaning and checking in with your veterinarian can help keep your pet happy and healthy.
How Often Should You Brush Your Dog’s Teeth?
After brushing your best friend’s teeth, you may be wondering what schedule to keep to keep your pet’s teeth clean. For example, “On average, you should try to brush your dog’s teeth 1-2 times a day,” says Wilde. While daily brushing is ideal for your pet, your veterinarian may have additional recommendations based on your dog’s age or breed.
Tips for brushing your dog’s teeth
It can take time for your dog to get used to brushing their teeth. Fortunately, Wilde has a few pointers that can help him with this.
- Start as soon as your vet says it’s okay. In general, the earlier the better.
- Try to create a positive experience around brushing your teeth. This may ultimately be a bonding activity. Include treats, a game and make it fun for your pet.
- Consider taking it off your pet’s normal routine. When your pet is expecting it, it may be easier for your pet to wait for it with its walk, playtime, or mealtime.
- Reward them with a treat! This can help establish a fun and exciting event to look forward to with their favorite person.
You may want to speak to your veterinarian about your pet’s dental care during their first spa visit. Plus, your vet can check your best friend’s teeth and recommend a treatment plan that includes dental work, schedules, and tips for your furry friend.
Brushing a dog’s teeth can become part of their daily activities
Brushing your dog’s teeth can help keep them in optimal health. Of course, as your dog ages, your pet’s dental health can change. However, if you speak to your veterinarian, stick to a treatment plan, and maintain daily cleaning, your pet can have a healthy smile for years!
How do you brush your dog’s teeth? Let us know in the comments below.
For more information on dental care for pets, see the seven dental care tips for puppies
About the author
is a digital content writer and editor for Trupanion. She spends her work day writing for the Trupanion blog. She loves writing about pets, getting inspiration from pets, and luckily hanging out with her rescue dogs all day. In her free time, she enjoys exploring and traveling with her family. Her work has been published on the DOGTV blog, the KitNipBox blog, the Get Your Pet blog and Fansided, among others.