Why should you brush your dog’s teeth?
Like humans, dogs can get gum and tooth diseases too. A dog’s poor dental hygiene can cause pain, bloody gums, and even infection. The most common dental problem among dogs is gingivitis. This is caused by plaque and if left untreated, may lead to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can cause painful tooth loss. Other severe infections can also spread and cause life-threatening conditions. This is why brushing your dog’s teeth is necessary to prevent serious dental problems.
Can you use a human toothbrush for them?
The answer is YES. But you have to use a soft-bristled human toothbrush. One of the best options is using toothbrushes made for babies. These brushes have soft bristles and smaller heads. The small head is easier to angle. This means that it is easier to reach and clean every corner of your dog’s teeth and gums.
You can also use finger toothbrushes especially when you are beginning to brush your dog’s teeth. This toothbrush is easier to use especially for puppies and small breeds of dogs.
Regardless of the type of toothbrush you use, it is important to always be gentle when brushing your dog’s teeth. Accidentally poking the tip of the toothbrush against their gums can irritate them.
What toothpaste should you use?
Use a toothpaste made for dogs. These are specifically formulated for dogs and often come in dog-friendly flavors like chicken or beef. Never use toothpaste that is designed for humans. These toothpastes contain ingredients that cannot be swallowed and can be toxic for dogs.
Is baking soda safe to use?
No. Baking soda is safe for humans, but you should never use it to brush your dog’s teeth. It has a high alkaline content and if swallowed, it can be harmful. Aside from that, baking soda does not taste good. Your dog will not like it and won’t cooperate when you try to brush its teeth.
When should you start brushing your dog’s teeth?
You should start brushing your dog’s teeth when he is still young. When tooth brushing becomes a part of their daily routine, they will start to anticipate and enjoy it. It is recommended to brush your dog’s teeth every day. But if they have healthy gums and clean teeth, at least three times a week is enough.
How should you brush your dog’s teeth?
- Find the right time.
Brush your dog’s teeth when they are at ease and calm. The goal is to set a routine. You can brush their teeth daily to easily do it.
- Gather all the tools you’ll need.
To save time, it is important to gather all your tools in one place before brushing. Make sure that the toothbrush, toothpaste, and water are ready.
- Assume the place and position.
You must brush your dog’s teeth in a place with good lighting. This is so that you can see what you are doing and can pay extra attention to the parts with plaques.
Make sure that you’re in a position where your dog is comfortable as well. Do not stand above them or hold them down. You can try sitting in front of your dog or to their side. This position will make them feel calmer and they’ll trust you more.
- Test the toothpaste.
You need to put a small amount of dog toothpaste on your finger to test. Let your dog lick the toothpaste off your finger before you start brushing. This is so they can get used to the toothpaste’s taste and smell.
- Lift your dog’s lip with your fingers.
Lift your dog’s lip and let them get used to the feeling of your fingers in their mouth. You may experience resistance on your first try, but the key is to never stop trying.
- Gently brush your dog’s teeth.
When your dog is used to you touching their mouth, you can now brush their teeth. Lift your dog’s lip and gently brush their teeth in a small circular motion. Make sure to brush the top and bottom of each side. Try to brush at least thirty seconds on each side. Angle the bristles 45-degree against their teeth so they can reach the gum line as well. This will help the bristles to remove plaque and massage the gum line.
Some light bleeding may occur especially during the first few times. Do not worry because this is okay. But heavy bleeding may mean you are brushing too hard. This can also be a sign of periodontitis. In this case, consult your vet for advice.
- Be reassuring.
Keep your dog calm while brushing its teeth. Talk to your dog throughout the process. You can tell them what you are doing and remind them that they’re being a good pup. You can stroke their jowls or pat their head as well.
- Reward your dog.
After brushing your dog’s teeth, reward them with a treat or extra attention. This will make your dog feel that brushing their teeth is a good thing.
Other things to keep in mind
A dog’s mouth contains many bacteria. If possible, use disposable gloves when brushing your dog’s teeth. But if you cannot clean your dog’s teeth properly with gloves on, then be sure to rinse your hands and arms thoroughly when you’re finished. Rinse the toothbrush properly as well before keeping it in an open container.
You should also use different toothbrushes each if you have several dogs. Like a human toothbrush, your dog’s brush should be replaced every three months as well.
Your dog’s oral health is important. You can use a human toothbrush but make sure that it has soft bristles. Only use a dog’s toothpaste because toothpaste made for humans can be toxic for them.
Trying to brush your dog’s teeth can be challenging in the first few tries. Even if you get to brush a few teeth at first, that is better than nothing. With patience, you can build that routine where you and your dog can both enjoy the process of brushing their teeth.