After a horrible dental experience with my dog Sasha, I now know how to brush a dog’s teeth.
Now before you hit the back button with horrid thoughts of your hands anywhere near those teeth, you have to realize that dental issues can severely shorten a dog’s life.
When my dog Sasha’s breath, starting smelling like someone crawled in her mouth and died, then I knew something was up. I wasn’t big on opening her mouth and she always had plenty of chew toys and rawhides, but I didn’t realize that plaque had built up on 3 back molars that most likely became sore, so she basically chewed on the other side.Credit: chinagroveah.com
Makes sense right? But what this did was let the plaque then proceed to gingivitis and by the time I realized something was wrong, ie; the day she yelped chewing, it was bad.
After a Veterinarian visit, they had decided that those 3 molars would have to come out. They were only able to open her mouth slightly for the pain and it upset me as well as her. At 9 years old we didn’t think she would do very well in the surgery so I opted to try something else.
We had her blood checked and a jaw x-ray to see if this infection had spread and luckily for us it had not.
So, I went to my local pet supply store and I purchased a small soft dog toothbrush, a dental spray and a food additive to help prevent tarter build up. These are things I should have been doing to prevent all of this.
I had a few questions, and you may have them too, but hopefully these will help you and don’t forget to watch the video below.
Brush Dogs Teeth – How Often?
At least once a day. If you are only doing this once a week or whenever you think about it, it is not going to work. You need to make a date with your dog once a day and it is so fast to do once you get the hang of it, so it won’t be taking up your day.
Ok, this is where a little bit of patience comes in. My dog was the same. We only opened her mouth at annual checkups!
This was how it worked for me. Start by getting a really good flavour of doggy toothpaste, Sasha likes the liver one (yuk!!). Put a bit on the brush and don’t try and force their mouth open. Simply take a couple of days of gently working that brush into their mouth and follow that up with her favourite treat.
She will get used to the brush and will eventually let you in. Don’t go at her armed with this brush and forcing her mouth wide open or she will be under that couch before you know it. Take the time and let her get used to it. If you can start this from when they are a puppy it would be much easier, but you can still do this at any age.
I basically got the brush under her lips at the side of her mouth with her jaw firmly shut! But still managed to brush back and forth on that side. They will open their mouth to taste the paste and then you can try the other side. Don’t push it to much the first couple of days. But eventually your dog will let you do this, if the promise of good healthy treats comes at the end!
My dog now wags her tail when I show up with the toothbrush! (It took about 10 days to get to this point)
It works best if you can purchase a kit, with a doggy toothbrush (they should be soft) and flavoured toothpaste. But if you don’t have the toothpaste, you can use a wet tooth brush dipped in a small amount of baking soda. But from experience, most dogs are not a fan of baking soda, so it will be easier for you if you get the flavoured toothpaste.Credit: amazon.com
Can you Brush a Dogs Teeth with Human Toothpaste?
NO, it is dangerous for humans and dogs to actually ingest the toothpaste. We don’t swallow our toothpaste, and dogs do not know to spit it out, so stick with the doggy toothpaste. The doggy toothpaste doesn’t foam up like ours, it just does the job and it tastes like a treat to them.
Before you vision having to get inside and outside and all the twisting and fighting you are going to have to do to get these teeth brushed, here is some good news!! You simply need to get the toothpaste on the brush and then back and forth on the outside of the teeth and the front ones, the dog’s tongue will take care of the insides.
If your dog will allow you in their mouth you can get toothbrushes that will do both sides and the top, like in the picture, but even if you just get the outside of their teeth you will help your dog.
The highest percentage of plaque builds up on the outside of the teeth not the inside. So, if you watch the video below you will see that it doesn’t take very long and have your treats ready.
Think of this as mouth wash! Since my dog was in trouble with one side of her mouth, I had to be very gentle with the toothbrush as she was in pain. So for the first few days I opted for a doggy dental spray. Four Paws makes a good one, and sprayed her teeth and her mouth with this minty fresh anti-bacterial spray. It got rid of the redness fast, and then I pushed the brushing more after that.
Our routine is such that we brush, spray and then she gets a treat. Her teeth have never looked better. It has become a morning habit, and her breath is back to normal doggy breath.
I also purchased an additive that can be sprinkled on her kibble that is supposed to help with the ph balance of their saliva so that you can try and prevent too much of this plaque forming in the first place.
How to Brush Dog’s Teeth?
Lot of love, patience and get into the habit. You may have just extended your dogs life by making the decision to brush. That has to feel good!