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Should You Brush Your Dog’s Teeth?

Humans brush their teeth twice daily to maintain their oral health, so wouldn’t it make sense to do the same for your beloved pet? Besides having pearly whites, there are plenty of benefits to brushing your dog’s teeth, including preventing gingivitis, having fresher breath, preventing plaque buildup, and maintaining their overall health. In this article, we’ll cover the methods and pet toothbrush tips you need to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy.

Choosing the right toothbrush.

There are various types of pet toothbrushes available to you so you can determine which is right for your pet. Take into consideration the size of your dog and his or her mouth, and how much plaque buildup there is. The most common types of pet toothbrushes are:

All of these types of brushes are great options. Silicone finger brushes are ideal for familiarizing your pet with touching his mouth and gums. They’re easy to maneuver on your finger, just remember that if your pet accidentally bites down, that could be painful for you. Take your time to acclimate your pet to the teeth brushing routine.

A chewable toothbrush is similar to giving your dog a dental treat to help rid his teeth of plaque. However, these hollow stick-like brushes are designed to hold a treat or toothpaste in the center. When your dog chews on the toy to get the treat, the ridges and grooves scrape away plaque. 

Whichever type of brush you choose is up to you, just make sure you allow your dog to become familiar with the toothbrush and pair it with positive reinforcement so they will allow you to clean their teeth regularly.

What type of toothpaste should I use?

Always use a pet-friendly toothpaste. Human grade toothpaste is not safe (or appealing) to dogs. In fact, many human-grade toothpastes contain a toxic synthetic sweetener called xylitol which can be fatal to dogs. Visit your local pet store or online retailer for a dog-friendly toothpaste instead.

How do I brush my dog’s teeth?

There are a few key things to remember when brushing your dog’s teeth. According to Small Door Veterinary:

  • Focus on the outside of your dog’s teeth, not the inside, as this is where the majority of tartar tends to accumulate
  • Use slow, gentle strokes
  • Do not force your dog’s mouth open—this can make them frustrated and you may lose their cooperation

There is a lot to consider when brushing your dog’s teeth. However, with the right tools and techniques, you can preserve your pets oral and overall health for years to come.


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