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How to brush your dog's teeth and check their oral hygiene.

Published 18th August 2018
Estimated 4 minute read time.
How to brush your dog's teeth and check their oral hygiene.

Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly keeps your dog's breath fresher and helps reduce plaque and tartar build-up, which can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Teeth Cleaning

·         This should be undertaken as often as possible, ideally every day but at least three times a week

·         Start the process whilst your dog is as young as possible to give them chance to get used to it

·         Pick a time when your dog is relaxed and more docile, perhaps after exercise

·         Ensure that your dog is comfortable with having your hand gently inside their mouth

·      Test for 20-30 seconds and run your finger tip softly over their teeth. Only proceed to brushing when your dog is comfortable with this process

·         Talk to them soothingly throughout

·      Use a specially designed moistened dog or finger toothbrush with soft bristles – we stock good ranges by Arm & Hammer and Johnson’s

·         If you don’t have a dog’s toothbrush, then a child’s toothbrush, gauze around your finger or a cotton swab will work

·       Use a pet-safe toothpaste such as Johnson’s Triple Action; they come in different dog-friendly flavours so you should be able to find one that your dog likes; give them a small amount to lick off your finger first to see if they like the taste

·         Never use human toothpaste, baking soda or salt

·         Show them the toothbrush and help them understand that it isn’t a toy

·         Lift their upper lip to expose the outside surfaces of their gums and teeth and check for any warning signs (see below)

·         Check that the gums are not red and swollen or bleeding – if they are visit your vet

·         Check for anything that might be stuck in their mouth which could cause smelly breath

·      Brush the outside of the teeth and gums with gentle circular motions, taking care to reach the back upper molars which are susceptible to tartar; get them used to the feeling and motion in small steps by just brushing a couple of teeth concentrating on the upper teeth

·         No need to rinse

·         When you are finished reward them with praise, play, petting or a favourite toy

·         Stop immediately if your dog shows any signs of aggression

·         Make this into a routine so they get used to having their teeth brushed

·         Consider getting their teeth professionally cleaned by a vet at least once a year

·      Supplement the routine with specially designed dental chews and treats by brands such as Pedigree and Purina to keep their mouth healthy

Reducing doggy bad breath

·         Brush their teeth regularly

·         Use dental oral care treats to keep their breath fresh and their teeth clean

·         Give them chew toys to encourage them to chew

·         Check for anything that might be stuck in their mouth

·         Feed them a natural and healthy diet and ensure that they don’t eat too much meat

·      If it persists, visit your vet as bad breath could be a sign of dental or gum disease or other underlying health problems

·         Give your dog fresh, clean water daily

·         Chopped parsley added to their food can act as a natural breath freshener

Warning Signs

·         Bleeding, red, painful or swollen gums

·         Sudden change in eating or chewing habits

·         Pawing at the face or mouth

·         Constant nose licking

·         Persistent bad breath

·         Excessive drooling

·         Loose or missing teeth

·         Bumps or growths in the mouth

Visit your vet if you are in any way concerned.


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