As a dog owner, you may have wondered whether or not it’s necessary to brush your dog’s teeth. The answer is yes – you should brush your dog’s teeth!  Just like people, dogs can develop dental issues such as tooth decay and toothaches. Data from the American Veterinary Dental Society shows that most dogs develop a dental issue by the time they turn three.

For this reason, you are advised to begin the process of brushing the teeth of your dog as early as possible so that they grow accustomed to the feeling. The advisable age to start brushing your dog’s teeth is when they are between eight and twelve weeks old. Aside from the cleaning you do yourself at home, it is advisable for you to make sure that a professional take a look at the teeth at least once a year. Getting a professional to take a look is in your best interests if you want to avoid serious teeth conditions that can cause organ failure and other life threating diseases.

Choosing the Right Toothpaste and Toothbrush

Dog toothbrushes come in different sizes and varieties just like human toothbrushes. However, they are smaller than human ones and have much softer bristles. You can also opt to go for a finger toothbrush, which you can wear on your finger for a more hands-on approach in order to get to those hard-to-reach sections. In some cases where you cannot access a dog toothbrush, a child’s toothbrush will do. If this is not available, then grab a soft cloth or a clean and soft gauze.

You can make compromises on the toothbrush but never on the toothpaste you use for your dog. You must never use human toothpaste because it is toxic to dogs. Instead, there are several brands of dog toothpaste that come in different flavors like beef or poultry (not ideal flavors for toothpaste of the human variety!) 

How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

First, you want to make your dog accustomed to the lifting of its lip. You can use rewards to encourage cooperativeness. Repeat this process until your dog is comfortable.

Secondly, accustom your dog to the taste of the toothpaste by letting it lick the paste off the toothbrush. Most dogs will readily do this because the pastes come in flavors the dog loves. If the flavor does not sit well with the dog, try another one. Once you get over this hurdle, go ahead and start brushing the teeth gently at first. Take about 30 seconds on either side while focusing on the outer parts of the teeth and the upper jaw. The toothpaste does not need rinsing.

There are other tips for brushing your dog’s teeth. First, do it after while your dog is tired like when he or she has just exercised or played for a long period of time. You should also be patient and try later if there is resistance or aggression. If there is too much resistance, go ahead and try using dental swipes.