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Dog teeth must be kept in good condition. That is, if you want your dog to live a long, healthy life.
It’s true. Brushing your dog’s teeth can add 5 years to his life!
Because things like gum disease and tooth decay are often hard to see, yet a dog’s general health is directly influenced by how healthy his teeth and gums are.
Once infection sets in, it can sometimes be difficult to treat and it could compromise your dog’s health in other ways.
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs show signs of oral disease by age 3! It’s worth noting that bad breath is one of the first signs of dental disease in pets.
So, those are the most common reasons to brush your dog’s teeth. However, from one dog owner to another, here’s another reason to brush your dog’s teeth.
Imagine if you stopped brushing your own teeth! Your dog’s teeth are no different.
What Are The Options?
There are 2 ways to maintain healthy dog teeth:
- Brush your dog’s teeth yourself (using simple dog teeth brushing tools).
- Have your dog’s teeth cleaned by a veterinarian (using professional equipment that removes set-in stains).
A professional dog teeth cleaning isn’t cheap. So it’s best to do it yourself — regularly.
When To Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
If possible, start brushing your dog’s teeth when he’s still a puppy, or that first day when you bring your new dog home.
That way, he will get used to the process early. He will quickly learn that teeth brushing is a normal activity around here and it’s done quite a lot!
The dogs that don’t mind having their teeth brushed are those that have had them brushed since puppyhood.
The dog that put up the biggest fight and resist having their teeth brushed are those that are older and not used to having it done.
How To Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
First, use these tips to get your dog used to the process of having your fingers in and around his mouth.
Next, here’s how to brush your dog’s teeth, step-by-step:
- Put dog toothpaste (not human toothpaste!) on your finger and allow your dog to lick some of it off.
- Start with one tooth. Put the dog toothpaste on a dog toothbrush (they’re angled differently and easier to use than human toothbrushes) or a dog finger brush (my personal favorite) and rub in the toothpaste where the tooth meets the gum line.
- Do not brush your dog’s teeth like you brush your own teeth. Instead, just smear the toothpaste on your dog’s tooth — 1 tooth at a time. Dog toothpaste is made to dissolve the plaque without much rubbing or scrubbing.
- If the first tooth went well, then try the same thing on another tooth. Until your dog gets used to having his teeth brushed, you may need to do only a few teeth at a time — in one sitting.
Most dogs (mine included) absolutely love the taste of doggie toothpaste and will beg for more of it! That’s good, because you want the experience to be a positive one for your dog. So keep giving your dog lots of praise every time you get another tooth done. And at the very end of the tooth brushing session, give your dog one of his all-time favorite dog treats as a reward for getting his teeth brushed.
This video shows you how to brush a dog’s teeth:
Still unsure about brushing your dog’s teeth?
Here is another great instructional video showing how to brush your dog’s teeth.
Daily Maintenance For Clean Dog Teeth
A proper dental chew can reduce plaque by up to 69%. — Gail Rapport, DVM
Examples of toys that help to clean dog teeth include:
When your dog bites and chews on these types of things, it helps to remove the plaque from his teeth and gums.
Finally, there are some dog-safe products that help to loosen and remove the plaque from your dog’s teeth. Some improve bad dog breath at the same time:
- Proden PlaqueOff (granules that you add to your dog’s food)
- Biotine Drinking Water Additive (a liquid that you add to your dog’s water)
- PetzLife Oral Care Gel (a peppermint gel that your rub on your dog’s teeth; also comes in a spray)
Do you brush your dog’s teeth? Do you have any time-saving or money-saving tips to share with fellow dog owners?…
More Dog Teeth Tips
In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some other resources to help you take care of your dog’s teeth:
- ASPCA: 10 Steps To Your Dog’s Dental Health
- Professional Dog Teeth Cleaning vs Doing It Yourself
- Dog Dental Care 101
I like to help Dog Parents find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about "outside the box" Dog Tips and Dog Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I’m a lifelong dog owner — currently have 2 mixed breed Golden Aussies that we found abandoned on the side of the road as puppies. I've always trained my own dogs and help friends train theirs, as well. Professionally, I worked at a vet and have several friends who are veterinarians — whom I consult with regularly. (And just because I love animals so much, I also worked at a Zoo for awhile!) I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). My daily motivation is to help first-time dog owners be better prepared from the first day your new puppy enters your home. I like to help dog owners understand what's 'normal' and what you can expect in terms of living with and training your dog — how to get through the ups & downs of potty training, chewing, teaching commands, getting your dog to listen, and everything else that takes place during that hectic first year! When I'm not training, walking, grooming, or making homemade treats for my dogs, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I've written over 500 articles for dog owners on this site!