Steps to Brushing Your Dogs Teeth by Kaitlyn Sammut, VA

As your dog starts to age you may start to see tartar accumulate on their teeth and at your vet visit we probably recommended brushing their teeth. Easier said than done right? Well this blog is going to take you step by step to teach you how to teach your pet to let them brush your teeth. Make sense? Okay here we go.

Step 1 – First you have to get them used to having you putting something in their mouth…and not chomping on it.  The best way to do this is get something they LOVE like peanut butter (make sure it’s the natural peanut butter because all the extra sugar and salt in the creamy soft one is not good for our fur friends). Purchase a finger brush to start and place a dime sized amount of PB on your finger. Sit on the floor facing your dog. (I find if my knees are up it creates ‘barrier’ of sorts for them). Then put your finger in the side of their mouth and slowly brush the outside of their teeth for a few seconds. Stop and then praise them for letting you do that. Repeat with the other side. Do this once a day for about a week slowly increasing the amount of time you are brushing.

Step 2 –Once your dog has gotten used to the finger brush it is time to upgrade to the real toothbrush. This is a new feeling for your dog so they may be deterred by this at first, just keep with it. They can’t resist the peanut butter! Use the toothbrush again for about a week working your way up to around a minute of light brushing.

Step 3 – Now is time for the toothpaste! Purchase toothpaste MEANT FOR ANIMALS. They ingest what we brush with and there is fluoride in human toothpaste which is toxic to animals. You can buy animal toothpaste from in many different flavors such as chicken, malt and beef.

Now you have trained your dog with all the right tools, you can now increase brushing time and force of brushing. Even if your dog only has a limited patient span with brushing, it’s better than not doing anything. Adding a dental diet and veterinary grade dental chews to the brushing regime will ensure that your dog has reduced plaque which means reduced tartar. Happy dogs have happy mouths.