How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Your dog's teeth and gums reflect and contribute to his overall health.

Be sure to have your veterinarian examine your dog's teeth and gums during his annual visit. If your dog's teeth are not properly cared for at home, your vet may suggest a professional cleaning. Chew toys are also an important part of maintaining proper dental health, since they help strengthen gums for even better oral health and reduced plaque buildup.

Regular dental care

Although regular dental checkups and professional cleanings are essential, home dental care has a major impact on long-term dental health. The most important step in maintaining your dog's oral health is brushing his teeth regularly. Studies have shown that brushing is the way to remove and prevent plaque.

Painless brushing

Follow these simple guidelines to make brushing your dog's teeth painless for both you and your dog.

  • Purchase toothpaste specially formulated for dogs. Regular toothpaste can upset his stomach.
  • Dip your finger in beef bouillon and gently run your finger over his teeth to get your dog accustomed to the concept of brushing.
  • Keep the first couple of brushing sessions short and give lots of praise; in time you will win your pet over to the idea. After a few sessions using your finger, switch to gauze or a soft wash cloth and try some pet toothpaste.
  • After your pet has accepted the gauze or wash cloth, graduate to the actual toothbrush. Use a soft toothbrush that is designed for dogs or cats and gently brush his teeth using a circular motion.
  • Let your dog know that oral hygiene is not all bad by providing some chewables, such as rawhide and dental chew toys with raised nubs to stimulate his gums.
  • Finally, be sure to brush your dog's teeth on a regular basis to ensure oral health and keep brushing a part of your dog's routine.

Maintaining your dog’s teeth is one of the most important things you can do for him. Vet visits and simple home care will help your dog’s teeth last a lifetime.