How do I brush my dog’s teeth?
A dog’s face can be cute, adorable, fluffy, noble and commanding. Like humans, they are capable of communicating a wide range of emotions, ranging from those “puppy eyes” to showering us with love. But, this same cute and fluffy dog is also prone to getting dirty and attracting schmutz.
Dental disease: why is dog's dental hygiene so important?
Maintaining your dog’s dental hygiene is not just about brushing teeth. Like humans, there are important health reasons as well such as preventing gum disease. Interestingly, up to 80% of dogs show signs of dental diseases by their third year of life.
Signs of dental disease
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Bad breath
- Loss of appetite
- Inflammation or redness of gums
- Swelling under eyes
- Lumps or bleeding around the mouth
If you notice any of these symptoms, visit your local vet.
How should I clean my dog’s teeth?
1. Set the stage
With any process, it's all about preparation. Having the items in place before calling your dog over means you are organised and can groom your dog efficiently and effectively. Having items all over the place would otherwise inevitably lead to your dog wandering off, making the whole process take far longer than it should.
- Dog toothbrush
- Dog toothpaste - remember to only use products made specifically for pets as human products can be very dangerous to your pet
- Treats – these should be within arm’s reach and in plentiful!; and
- Help – having another pair of hands to gently hold your pet in place may help you and your pet with the experience.
Inspection first Start by taking a good look at your dog's teeth to spot any signs of dental disease. If you see any of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s best to abandon the cleaning process and visit your local vet.
- It’s best to clean your dog’s teeth when your dog is calm. Reassure your dog with lots of pats and soothing words.
- Get down on your dog’s level – avoid standing over your dog.
- Give your dog’s gum a light rub with your finger to prepare your dog.
- If brushing teeth is a first for your dog, allow him/her to taste the toothpaste first.
- To begin, angle the toothbrush upwards at 45 degrees. You want the tip of the bristles to rub up against the upper gum.
- Brush in small circles, covering all teeth top and bottom
- Aim to brush your dog’s teeth for two minutes every day. If every day is too much, 3 times a week is ideal.
- Reward your dog with plenty of treats, love, and affection. Cuddles are a must! This will allow your pet to associate teeth brushing time with a pleasant experience. It’s crucial that you provide for such an experience especially when your dog is a young pup.
- Some light bleeding is normal and may occur every now and then.