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Tips on How to Brush Your Dog's Teeth

How to brush your dog’s teeth

As humans, we brush our teeth daily to maintain oral hygiene. As a pet parent, have you ever wondered whether you need to start brushing your dog’s teeth as well? The answer is yes! Brushing dog teeth is a good practice that helps keep your pet’s mouth clean by clearing off the plaque and other paraphernalia such as bits of food and dirt. This further helps keep bad breath at bay as well. In the long run, brushing dog teeth also helps prevent other dental problems for your dog such as gum ailments. Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly is a great way to keep their gums and teeth healthier and fight gum disease. Introducing tooth brushing gradually will mean your fur baby will learn to enjoy the experience.

How often to brush a dog’s teeth? 

The answer to this question really depends on how comfortable your dog is with the activity and your ability to put in the time and effort required. Unlike humans, dogs do not require daily brushing. You can brush your dog’s teeth thrice a week to keep their mouth clean and teeth healthy. Once a dog is used to the practice, brushing teeth may even turn out to be an excellent bonding exercise between pet parent and dog. 

What do you need to brush your dog’s teeth?

1.  A toothbrush with medium bristles and the correct size as follows:

  • Medium and large dogs require an adult (human) size
  • Small dogs require child’s size brush
  • Toy or miniature dogs require small special pet toothbrush

2. Pet toothpaste (do not use human toothpaste)

3. A quiet place without distractions

4. A little time and patience

Some important tips before starting to brush your dog’s teeth

Before you clean your fur baby’s pearly whites, remember to:

  • Keep each session short – from a few seconds to a maximum of a couple of minutes
  • Pick a time which suits your daily routine and try to keep it as your usual time to brush. It doesn’t matter when in the day you do the brushing.
  • Repeat each stage daily until your dog is comfortable with it and then for a few more days beyond. Then you can move on to the next stage. You may do the established stage first and then continue into the new stage when introducing a new stage.
  • Every dog is different, so train at a pace which suits your dog. You can always go back a stage.
  • Give lots of praise and a reward but only for good behavior.

How to brush dog teeth? 

Here’s a quick look at how to brush dog teeth properly.

Step 1: Using the right toothbrush and toothpaste

The regular toothbrush and toothpaste that we use for ourselves are not suitable for dogs. There are dental hygiene products that have been specially designed for the purpose of brushing dog teeth. These include carefully formulated toothpastes with flavors that your dog will enjoy. It must be noted that using human toothpaste can cause problems for your dog.

Step 2: Picking a friendly position to brush dog teeth

Another key factor to keep in mind when you are brushing dog teeth for the first time is to find a position that makes your dog comfortable and relaxed. Brushing teeth must be a fun and rewarding experience for the dog and the dog parent. Therefore, try sitting beside them or in front of them as opposed to brushing their teeth from behind by standing over them or trying to pin them down on the floor. 

Step 3: Introducing the pet toothpaste

Smear a small amount of toothpaste on your fingertip. Allow your dog to lick the toothpaste. Your pet should like the taste and be keen to eat it.

Step 4: Getting your pet used to something in their mouth

Place some toothpaste on your fingertip. With your other hand gently hold the muzzle to keep the mouth mostly closed. Insert your finger under the top lip on the side of the face. Rub your fingertip on the teeth. Don’t allow the mouth to open or you may get your finger chewed. Slide your finger further back inside the cheeks (do not do this if there is any risk that you could be bitten). If your dog won’t sit still when you hold the muzzle, you should seek some behavioral advice.

Step 5: Introducing the toothbrush on the canine teeth 

Wet the toothbrush with water and add some toothpaste then push it down into the bristles. Hold the muzzle to keep the mouth gently closed. This is to stop chewing when the brush is introduced. Lift the top lip on one side of the mouth (with a fingertip or thumb of the hand holding the muzzle). Gently brush the canine teeth – these are the longest teeth. Change your hold on the muzzle to lift the lip on the other side, then brush the canine teeth on this side. Tip: Do not start with the incisor teeth at the front of the mouth as this is a more sensitive area of the mouth.

Step 6: Brushing the teeth further back

After brushing the canine teeth, continue on to brush the teeth further back in the mouth. To get to the molar teeth you will need to slip the brush past the corner of the lips inside the cheeks. Try a smaller brush if you struggle to get inside the cheek. Brush the upper teeth first and then allow the mouth to open slightly to be able to brush just along the gum line of the lower teeth. Increase the brushing gradually and stop if your dog is reacting more than a little bit.

Step 7:  Brushing all the teeth

Brush the canine and back teeth on both sides (as before). Now lift the top lip at the front of the mouth (still holding the mouth closed) and brush the incisors. You are now brushing the outside of all the teeth. You may want to brush for a little longer to do a more thorough cleaning. For the best results brushing should be at least once a day.

This is how to clean your dog’s teeth without causing your pet too much discomfort. 

Brushing dog teeth regularly helps overcome future dental diseases

Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly not only helps eliminate bad odor from your dog’s mouth but also keeps their oral cavity clean. Brushing also prevents many dental problems such as accumulation of plaque and tartar, gum disease, bleeding or any damage due to toys or other activities, gingivitis and more. 

PEDIGREE® Dental Treats can improve your dog's dental health 

In addition to brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, you can trust PEDIGREE® DentaStix® to keep your beloved pet’s teeth and gums healthy and strong. Scientifically proven to reduce the build-up of tartar significantly, PEDIGREE® DentaStix® is an easy-to-use oral dog chew in the form of a treat. An effective combination of regular brushing and using PEDIGREE® DentaStix® can greatly benefit your dog’s dental health and minimize the risk of any dental problems in the future. 

Benefits of PEDIGREE® DentaStix®

PEDIGREE® DentaStix® contains active ingredients such as Zinc, Sodium Tripolyphosphate and Sulphate. This effective product is specially designed to support the gum health of your dog. 

The unique X-shaped design of PEDIGREE® DentaStix® and abrasive texture helps clean off tartar build-up well even in hard-to-reach places.

Daily feeding of PEDIGREE® DentaStix® is scientifically proven to reduce tartar build-up by up to 80%. 

You can bring home the right dental hygiene partner for your dog based on their bodyweight. PEDIGREE® DentaStix® is available in three sizes for small, medium and large breed dogs designed specifically according to their needs. 

When to seek professional teeth cleaning for your dog?

There are certain situations that may require seeking the help of a professional veterinarian for brushing dog teeth. Here are some circumstances when it is advisable to reach out to a professional for your dog’s dental hygiene needs:  

  1. In case of any bleeding when you try to brush your dog’s teeth. 
  2. Your dog feeling discomfort or pain when you try to clean their teeth. 
  3. If you notice any swelling or discoloration in your dog’s gums. 
  4. When there is a strong foul odor emanating from your dog’s mouth. It may be a symptom of dental infection.
  5. If your dog has trouble chewing or eating dry or hard foods.

Frequently Asked Questions on Brushing Dog’s Teeth

Do I need to brush my dog's teeth?

Yes. There are several short-term and long-term benefits of brushing your dog’s teeth regularly. How often you brush your dog’s teeth is a matter of preference, but it is highly recommended to follow a regular dental hygiene plan for your dog.

Does DentaStix® actually work to keep your dog's teeth clean?

Can you use a human toothbrush on a dog?

What happens if I don’t brush my dog's teeth?

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