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Do You Brush Your Dog’s Teeth?

Following a recent visit to the vets with my canine companion, it was suggested that I start a programme of regularly brushing my dog’s teeth.  I was a little taken aback as I had never contemplated performing that particular task with my dog at home before but I was assured that it was common practice and really I should have been brushing my pooch’s teeth since puppyhood…who knew?

Well, I obviously didn’t, but am I the only one? So I decided to do a little digging – excuse the pun!

According to the RSPCA, dental disease is very common in dogs, second only to ear infections and can be extremely uncomfortable so they advise we check and clean our dog’s teeth regularly.

Just like people dogs need to have healthy gums and teeth.  Brushing our dog’s teeth is an important part of overall care. Keeping our dog’s breath fresh is just one reason to brush regularly, as clean teeth can also boost the health, happiness and longevity of our canine friends.  Plaque and tartar, along with bad breath, can result in loss of teeth so following a regular routine of brushing our dog’s teeth may help to improve its quality of life and may help to avoid expensive treatment costs too.

How often should I brush?

It is recommended to brush your dog’s teeth at home at least two to three times per week and take your dog for professional dental cleaning once a year.

How do I start?

The RSPCA suggest that we start teeth cleaning when our dog is a puppy and we should brush their teeth every day to get them used to it.  However, if like me, you have never done this before then here are some tips on how to go about it:

  • You will need to buy a dog toothpaste as the brand in your bathroom cabinet will not be suitable and also a special dog toothbrush that goes over your finger (but a child-sized toothbrush could work just as well)
  • Start by having your finger near their mouth, then try massaging your dog’s lips in slow circular movements for up to 1 minute once or twice a day. Gradually build up until you are massaging your dog’s teeth and gums in the same way until your pet is comfortable with this.
  • Once your dog is happy with you massaging his teeth you can introduce the dog toothpaste. Put a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on one of your fingers and let him taste it then immediately reward with a treat. Over a few days, increase the amount of time between your pet tasting the toothpaste and being rewarded.
  • You can then introduce the toothbrush. Put a small amount of toothpaste on the brush and let your dog lick it. Immediately reward him and then again do this for several days, increasing the time between licking and reward.
  • When you and your pet are ready to brush then start brushing in one area of your dog’s mouth. Gently lift the lip and clean the outside of the teeth and gumline. Make quick, smooth, circular movements and keep talking to your dog throughout.
  • Your dog probably won’t appreciate you cleaning his entire mouth at once so stop every 5-10 seconds and give your dog lots of praise.

It should take between 30 seconds to 1 minute to brush your dog’s teeth in total.  Remember the key is to keep the session light and fun for your dog.

Dental chews and treats

Some dogs, no matter what you do, will not let you brush their teeth so dental chews and toys are a good alternative.  They can help wipe away soft tartar and massage the gums and are also good at relieving boredom too.

It is worth speaking to your vet if you are unsure which teeth-brushing alternative to try and of course they are there to advise on all your pet’s needs.

So, I’m off to buy my doggy toothbrush and toothpaste and have a go at brushing my unsuspecting pooch’s teeth – wish me luck!

Do you brush your dog’s teeth regularly or do you use dental chews or toys instead?  Or have you never brushed your dog’s teeth?

Do you brush your dog's teeth?

353 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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Dani
12th Mar 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
No, but I brush mine!
biker babe
28th Feb 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
No, because i haven't got a dog!
beefree
19th Feb 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
Just paid £475 for my 8yr Golden Retriever to have a deep dental clean....She also had to have 2 small teeth removed, luckily form lower front.

Luckily all the rest of her teeth and roots are strong. Had they been left would have deteriorated rapidly and been very painful.

Wish I had started much earlier. I now clean her teeth, which she doesnt mind to keep them as healthy as poss.
ChrisMagMess
27th Jan 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
When my daughter was young (about 7/8) she used to clean our German Shepherd's teeth - but she used her brother's toothbrush! She never told him that. lol.
biker babe
28th Feb 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
JoM84
14th Jan 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
I have a dog who does not like to be handled. I would not try to put my fingers near his mouth. I use Plaque off on his food.
ChristineD8
13th Jan 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
My Westie is 11 and has had to have 7 teeth removed. I wish I had started brushing her teeth as a puppy she does have a dental stick every day though
JoanM75
13th Jan 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
used to brush previous dogs teeth this one adopted from Romania is learning a new way of life and is not entirely trusting of things new to her she had dental
treatment at the vet which was needed I shall approach the brushing issue in time though
smc63
13th Jan 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
My boy is only 9mths old and I did intend to regularly brush his teeth (no paste just brush is all you need to do) but don’t! Instead he gets a carrot every day and he has healthy chews occasionally too. I really should start brushing too tho
MBatterbee
13th Jan 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
If you raw feed your dogs then teeth become completely clean and your dog will not have bad breath, nor dental problems. Feed them kibble etc and you will have all the problems. There really is no need to clean your dog's teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Browneyedsurfer
13th Jan 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
Our dog has his teeth brushed daily - he loves the toothpaste
ChristineW256
13th Jan 2020
3
Thanks for voting!
I brush my dogs teeth regularly but dont use dental chews as they are full of unhealthy rubbish.
MrsPat
9th Jan 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
We do occasionally but I think we need to do it more often. :Probably we need to flavour the brush with meat or gravy etc.
Munsterlander
8th Jan 2020
3
Thanks for voting!
In the "olden days" -pre 1980 we used to give our dogs bones which our dogs gnawed on for hours and consequently cleaned their teeth. Probably good to do this again and I think I will also have a go at brushing our hounds teeth as well.
[deleted]
9th Jan 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
Lionel
10th Jan 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
I couldn't agree more Munsterlander. In fifty years of having Collies - some for working sheep and cattle others as house dogs - I've only ever given them bones.

The local butcher will supply beef shin bones at almost no cost and bones give worms a hard time too. I haven't often had to worm my dogs, the bones do it for me.

Seems to me these vets are getting a little too greedy these days.
MarjorieW5
13th Jan 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
I bought Deer antlers, they are good for chewing and clean the teeth and are so hard and long lasting
MBatterbee
13th Jan 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
Try the local butcher....they have to pay to dispose of their bones so may be happy for you to take them away for free....that's what we do.
Bald123
8th Jan 2020
4
Thanks for voting!
No but after reading this article I will be.
Wilf
8th Jan 2020
5
Thanks for voting!
Yes we used to brush them with Chicken taste toothpaste. I am not joking and the dogs loved it! We should do this again.

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