Brushing a Dog's Teeth
Toothbrushing, to be effective, has to be carried out regularly - ideally at least daily. In order to do this it cannot be a battle - it has to be enjoyable - both for your dog and for you!
One of the best ways to get started with toothbrushing is to use a fingercloth to accustom your dog to having his mouth inspected and manipulated. One of the best fingercloths is Petosan's Microfibre cloth. It is important to use a highly palatable toothpaste such as Petosan's or Logic's Oral Hygiene Gel. Human toothpaste must not be used as it is not designed to be swallowed and will lead to problems.
Place a little Oral Gel on your finger and allow your dog to lick it as a treat, then smear a little on their gums and allow them to lick it off. Gradually encourage your dog to enjoy having their mouths handled with verbal encouragement and a good tasting toothpaste. It is important that your dog feels that tooth cleaning is fun. Use lots of verbal encouragement and give lots of praise whenever performing any oral hygiene measures. It should NEVER be a battle, it must be fun for all concerned.
Once your dog is used to the idea of the finger cloth, it is time to introduce the toothbrush. One of the recent advances is the development of a double sided toothbrush to help effectively clean both sides of the teeth at once. Thsi toothbrush is now available in an electric version which produces 20,000 bristle movements a minute to help clean plaque deposits.
Try to set aside a regular time each day for toothbrushing - dogs are creatures of routine. Many owners find that last thing at night is the best time & quickly their dogs come to expect that final interaction before settling down for the night. Once daily (or more) is best.
Don't try to brush the teeth perfectly on Day 1. Take your time, gradually increasing the effectiveness of your toothbrushing. Most dogs come to love toothbrushing - it is a positive interaction between you, the owner, and them. A great tasting toothpaste also helps! As you can see in the video below (click on the image), toothbrushing is enjoyable and a pleasant experience. The file is 7.5Mb so please forgive the delay in downloading.
Remember to make toothbrushing fun - give a reward (such as a DentaStix) when you finish. In addition DentaStix can be used on those days when you can't brush or for those rare pets that will not tolerate toothbrushing.
In addition Dentagen Aquadent can be added to the water to try and reduce the accumulation of plaque.
Let your dog settle - perhaps after having had a lick of the oral hygiene gel. But do make them sit – a moving target is far harder to deal with!
Place your hand on their muzzle
Gently push the lip in between the teeth – this gently holds the mouth open. It also helps stop the chewing on the toothbrush that many dogs do to start off with.
Gently place the Petosan toothbrush onto the rows of teeth. The double sided brush neatly fits over the teeth. Gently rub the toothbrush back and forwards to clean the teeth and remove plaque.
Don't forget to clean both upper and lower jaws and both sides of the mouth.
If you manage to brush the teeth regularly and use a sensible diet your dog's mouth can stay healthy - like this 8 year old mouth pictured below.
You can purchase the Petosan® Toothbrush and the Logic® Oral Hygiene Gel from your vet - or from our on-line store
Remember to ALWAYS reward your pet with lots of praise during and after tooth brushing. Often the attention and the nice taste of the Logic Oral Gel is reward in itself - but it doesn’t do any harm to add to that. A DentaStix, or Oral Bar or similar treat that has been proven to assist in oral hygiene can make a great reward. However, the best reward your dog will receive is that their health will be greatly improved and lots of problems can be avoided by regular toothbrushing. Toothbrushing is a vital part of your pet's preventive health care. It is just as important as their regular vaccinations.
Remember that dental disease is the most common infectious disease of pets. Helping to prevent it will not only help prevent tooth abscesses, bad breath and loss of teeth - but will also help prevent heart, kidney and other internal diseases in later life.
Start Brushing NOW.
Did You Know?
Using a disclosing solution can demonstrate how much plaque is present in even a seemingly healthy mouth.