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How to Brush Dogs' Teeth

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How to Brush Dogs' Teeth

Canine gingivitis and periodontal disease is one of the most common ailments afflicting pet dogs. It is a painful disease that may cause lasting health issues, and may become chronic if not treated properly. If you brush your dog's teeth and administer proper canine dental care, you will help to ensure that your pet remains free of gingivitis and other dental diseases.

Buildup of tartar and plaque is the leading cause of periodontal disease in dogs. As a pet owner, you can help to prevent this buildup by feeding your dog an appropriate diet, without including table scraps or other foods, by giving him veterinarian-approved chew toys and by brushing his teeth regularly. Among these prevention methods, tooth brushing is the most effective at keeping your dog’s gums and mouth healthy and free of inflammation.

Follow these steps to brush your pet’s teeth properly:

Step 1 – Take Your Dog For a Dental Scraping

Before beginning a tooth cleaning program at home, have your veterinarian clean your pet’s teeth professionally. A dental exam and tooth scraping can help to ensure that your dog’s teeth stay free of plaque and tartar more effectively than brushing alone.

Step 2 – Purchase Dog-Friendly Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Use a toothbrush that is soft, with a long handle and big bristles. Additionally, it is crucial that you purchase and use veterinary toothpaste and not human toothpaste. Human toothpastes contain fluoride and other chemicals that are harmful to dogs. Consult your vet’s office or local pet supply store for information about the proper veterinary toothbrush and toothpaste for your dog.

Step 3 – Help Your Dog Become Accustomed to Toothpaste

Your toothbrushing will be much more successful if your dog is comfortable with the taste of it before you begin the brushing process. Give your dog a small taste of toothpaste once a day until he reacts normally to it. At this point, it's also important to help your dog become accustomed to having his mouth examined. Gently rub a bit of toothpaste over his gums and teeth using your fingers.

Step 4 – Brush Your Dog’s Teeth, One Section at a Time

When your dog is comfortable with your fingers and toothpaste in his mouth, slowly introduce the toothbrush. Ensure that you scrub in small circles along his gumline. Always scrub gently and speak to your dog soothingly as you brush his teeth. Begin by brushing his upper teeth. Once he is comfortable with having his upper teeth brushed, brush all of his teeth in one session. It should take about 30 seconds to brush your dog’s teeth.

Brush his teeth daily to prevent plaque from hardening into tartar on teeth and gums. Ask your vet during regular physical exams to check on your dog’s teeth, as it may be helpful to have them cleaned professionally on occasion. With patience and a small amount of time spent brushing every day, your dog will enjoy clean and healthy teeth for years to come.

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