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How to brush your dog’s teeth?

Most of us seem to think that dogs’ teeth get cleaned up naturally. Unfortunately, dogs’ teeth are prone to plaque, bad breath, gum disease, tooth decay, and painful infections just like us! And, surprisingly enough, small dogs are more at risk at getting tooth decay than larger dogs. This is why you should brush your dog’s teeth as frequently as possible. Doing it on a daily basis would be ideal, but if you can’t, then at least brush your dog’s teeth once to three times a week. It might seem like a challenge to brush your furry companion’s teeth since they are not used to it! So how should you proceed with all of this? Below we provide you with several steps to follow to successfully clean their teeth. But you should keep in mind that you will have to be really patient every time you brush your dog’s teeth, especially at the beginning since they are not used to it. The following are the steps to successfully brush your furbaby’s teeth:

1. Find the Right Time

The ideal moment to brush your pup’s teeth is when they are calm and relaxed. Your aim should be to set up a daily routine. For example, you could take a few minutes every night to brush your dog’s teeth just before going to sleep. This is what I personally do with my own dog and it works wonders since it became our favorite night-time routine!

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2. Choose the right tools

Dogs’ teeth are more sensitive than humans’. They are also shaped differently. So you’ll have to use a toothbrush that’s made for dogs. The bristles are softer and angled in a specific way. Also, there are two main types of dog toothbrushes: finger brushes, which can work well for dogs under 30 pounds (15kg), and longer, two-sided ones, which are great for larger dogs so that you have better reach of their back teeth.

You should never use human toothpaste since it contains ingredients that are toxic to your furbaby. Dog toothpaste should be used instead. In fact, it comes in different flavors that dogs love such as poultry or peanut butter.

3. Find the Right Spot 

Brushing your dog’s teeth is a delicate thing to do. So you need to constantly reassure your dog, and one way of doing this is by positioning yourself at your dog’s level to show them that you are not threatening them or scaring them away. Be aware of your dog’s body language and stress level. If you find them acting all anxious, stop brushing their teeth and try again later. You might have to try brushing their teeth several times before truly succeeding.

4. Get them used to your touch

Start getting your dog accustomed to you touching their mouth by rubbing your finger along their upper gums and teeth. This will help them get used to the feel of something against their teeth. Also, always use light pressure. Your dog might need a few sessions to get used to this feeling.

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5. Start with the Toothpaste

Now that your dog lets you put your finger in their mouth, put some dog toothpaste on your fingertip and let them lick it so that they get used to the texture and taste. Don’t hesitate to try different toothpaste flavors in order to find one that your furry companion loves. This way, they’ll end up seeing it as a treat!

6. Use the Toothbrush

When your dog is used to you opening and touching their mouth, you can start using the toothpaste and toothbrush together. Begin by lifting their upper lip, then place the toothbrush bristles at a 45-degree angle against their teeth so that they massage the gum line and clear away plaque.

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7. Move in a Circular Motion

The most effective way to clean your dog’s teeth is by brushing in small circles, getting top and bottom on each side. Some light bleeding may occur from time to time as your brush your dog’s gum line. This is normal. But if you see continuos or heavy bleeding, then it may mean that you’re brushing too aggressively, or it could be a sign of gum disease. Seek your vet for advice when in doubt.

8. Focus on the Plaque

Always brush your pup’s teeth by applying light pressure and by moving progressively, a few teeth at a time. If your dog resists at first, try by starting to brush the outsides of the canine and back teeth, which are less sensitive than front teeth and it is where plaque tends to collect the most. Brushing the insides of your dog’s teeth is the most difficult part to do, and if you can’t get to them, then don’t worry too much about it! The dog’s coarse tongue will help in keeping that area cleaner.

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9. Reassure and encourage

It is important to make this brushing routine an enjoyable experience for your dog. So always talk to them throughout the process, encourage them and pet them to show them how proud your are of their good behavior. The more you encourage your dog, the more willing they will be to behave well to please you.

10. Use dental sprays, treats and do professional dental cleanings

You can also complement this brushing routine by finishing off with a dog dental spray, which is very effective for bad breath. You can also give them chews and treats to help fight plaque buildup. Also, don’t forget to let your vet inspect your dog’s teeth regularly and even do professional dental cleanings when necessary.

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If you’d like to learn more about how to take care of your dog and dogs in general, check out our Dog Blog by clicking here.

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