How to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth
As much as people love their dogs, many pet parents are neglectful when it comes to cleaning their dog’s teeth. Usually, this is because they don’t know how to do it, or they’re not sure why it’s important. To help you out, we want to explain why it’s a good idea to brush at home and give you some tips to make it easier for you to brush your dog’s teeth on your own.
Why Should I Brush My Dog’s Teeth?
Dogs can experience gingivitis and periodontitis, just like people. Gingivitis causes red, inflamed gums that can lead to bad breath. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a very serious disease that unfortunately, can be harmful to your dog’s heart, kidneys, and liver.
How Can I Clean My Dog’s Teeth?
We recommend that you brush your dog’s teeth using a canine toothbrush and a toothpaste designed for dogs. Do NOT use human toothpaste—it’s toxic to dogs.
Once you have your supplies ready, wait until your dog seems calm and then, allow him to lick a small amount of toothpaste from your finger. If that goes well, move on to gently touching your dog’s gums, so he becomes accustomed to the sensation.
If your dog becomes agitated during this process, stop and try again another time when he’s feeling more relaxed. Patience is a virtue when it comes to tackling doggie dental care.
Assuming all goes well, you’re ready to start brushing. Apply toothpaste to the toothbrush and start brushing the outside of your dog’s back teeth in a circular motion with the bristles at a 45-degree angle.
You should aim the bristles toward the gum line to remove the plaque beneath the gums. If your dog cooperates, hit all the surfaces of his teeth and brush for a minimum of two minutes.
Remember that throughout this entire process, you should reassure your dog by gently giving him pats on the back and offering verbal encouragement.
If, despite your best efforts, you still struggle to brush your dog’s teeth, we suggest dog tooth wipes. While they’re not as effective as brushing for getting between the teeth, they do a good job removing plaque from the surface of dogs’ teeth.
What Else Can I Do to Improve My Dog’s Oral Care?
If you can’t brush your dog’s teeth—or just want to take extra special care of your dog’s oral hygiene—you can also:
- Offer your dog dental treats to fight plaque.
- Give your dog dry food, which helps reduce plaque build-up.
- Treat your dog to toxin-free rawhides or nylon/rubber chew toys, which will scrape away soft tartar.
- Add a water additive designed to target plaque and tartar to your dog’s drinking bowl.
How Can I Schedule a Dental Appointment for My Dog?
Dogs aren’t so different from people—just like you need regular dental cleanings, your dog needs a professional cleaning too!
To schedule your dog dental appointment at our Columbus office, please call 614.268.8666 during normal business hours. For your convenience, we’re open until 6:30 Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; 7:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 3:30 on Saturdays.