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August 20th, 2018

The Essential Guide to Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Category: dental health

The Essential Guide to Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth hagen dental practice cincinnati ohio

Do you have a dental care regimen for your dog?

We know they are considered a part of the family, so to keep their gums and mouth healthy, we’ve compiled some of the top tips you can use when it comes to brushing your dog’s teeth.

Step #1: Get them used to the idea

If you can, start young with your dog…but don’t worry if that hasn’t happened! To start to train a dog, many people like to show their dog what it’s like to have fingers in their mouth first.

Think of it this way: your slowly getting your dog used to the idea that you’re going to be putting something in their mouth in the future. This way, they can adjust the idea!

Consider putting your finger in peanut butter or some other treat, and let them lick it off your finger. As they do this, you can start to safely and gently rub their teeth and gums with your finger.

You can also try to keep their mouth open for longer periods of time—again, you’re getting them ready for the brushing that’s to come.

Another point to consider: You may need some toys on hand for positive reinforcement when they allow you to keep their mouth open for a little longer than they are used to. Some dogs may have a bit of resistance at first, so this can help.

Step #2: Start small

If desired, you may skip the first point. Whenever you feel you are ready, with the guidance from your vet, you can introduce your dog to toothpaste.

Be sure you use pet toothpaste with your animal. You should never use human toothpaste with your dog! Today there are dog toothpastes that are flavored like beef or poultry that many will enjoy

Slowly work up to brushing their teeth. You may at first just introduce them to a small amount of toothpaste. After all, it will take some getting used to. Aim to focus on the faces of the lip, when possible. It may take a week, or longer to get them used to this new habit. You also can adjust the amount of toothpaste you are using over time (2).

Step #3: Reinforce their good habits

It’s amazing what can be done with patience and reinforcement in terms of training your dog! Over time it should be easier to give them a quality brushing each day (or as often as your dentist recommends). In general, 30 seconds per side of the mouth is a good goal to have in terms of how long you want to brush their teeth. Just like with humans, be sure you are as gentle as possible.

stick with brushing teeth hagen dental practice cincinnati ohio

Step #4: Continue to turn to your trusted vet

Typically, dogs will also need professional, anesthetized cleanings, although it’s always going to vary based on what kind of dog you have. Keeping these regular appointments can help with preventative health measure and it can help to spot anything that’s wrong with your dog’s health (2).

tips to help you with your dogs oral health hagen dental practice cincinnati ohio

Other Tips to Help You Brush Your Dog’s Teeth 

A few other tips to consider for the health of your dog’s gums and teeth: First, make sure you talk to your vet so you know as much as you can about your dog, especially as it relates to their particular breed.

Don’t be unrealistic and realize it may take some time to develop good oral health habits with your dog!

Next, provide safe chew items; just like how flossing and chewing help to stimulate our gums, chewing is great for dogs’ teeth and gums, too. Not sure exactly what’s best to provide them with? You can choose between chew items and dental chews. Talk to your vet about what kind of meaty bones are a fit for your dog. All of these things, when done regularly and in combination with each other, can promote a healthy mouth.

Something Doesn’t Seem Quite Right? Don’t Ignore It…

A good rule of thumb: Always ask your vet about what’s going to be beneficial for their health, and stay mindful of anything that doesn’t seem quite right when it comes to their gums and teeth.

For example, if your dog already has dental disease, your vet might recommend a certain course of action before you start any at-home regular teeth cleaning. Also know what healthy looks like, and what could be a sign of something going wrong in the mouth.

Typically, a dog’s healthy gums will be a shrimp-colored pink. If they look very white, or, on the opposite side of things, if they look red or inflamed, it’s reason to pay attention (1, 2).

If dog’s gum ever bleeds for more than a few minutes, you don’t want ignore it because it may be a sign of disease in the mouth, an immune issue, or something else.

It’s not uncommon for pups have what’s called papillomatosis, or warts of the gums. You might notice that there are what appears to be clusters of warts or you may just see one or two.

In most cases, with one or two of these small warts in the mouth, it’s not a major concern, but always check with your vet if it lasts more than a few weeks because they may need to be removed surgically at a certain point (1).

Improving Your Dental Health

At Hagen Dental, we want you to improve your health and wellness so that you’re living your healthiest life possible. If you are interested in setting up your next appointment with us, give us a call today at (513) 251-5500. We’re looking forward to meeting you and your family, or seeing you come in again.



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