The technique is just as important as the decision to brush your dog’s teeth at all! It will likely be a slow process – especially if you are working with a fully grown dog rather than a puppy. The younger your dog is when you start this routine the easier it will be!
You should be sure to buy a proper dog safe toothpaste, which can be found at most pet stores. You can either buy a special pet toothbrush, a “finger-brush”, use a human toothbrush or your fingers – whatever works best for you and your dog.
A toothbrush of some sort will likely be more effective than your fingers, but if your dog will allow your finger and not the toothbrush then remember, it’s still better than nothing!
Introduce your dog to the toothpaste by letting him taste it first. If he will happily lick it off your finger then start by using your finger to massage the toothpaste into the dog’s gums. This is a great start and from here you can work up to using the brush!
If you don’t want to do this yourself, but don’t want to pay for the professional cleaning at your vet’s office (which generally includes anesthesia, allowing the vet to do a deep cleaning under the gums), then there is another option!
Some pet stores hold vet clinics and some of those clinics include a “non-anesthetic” professional brushing. This works great for calmer dogs – however, it may not be good for more aggressive breeds.
No matter what approach you take to keeping your pet in good oral health, and prevention is important!
If your dog is already showing signs of periodontal disease (bad breath, discolored teeth, lack of appetite or lack of interest in previously coveted chew toys), then you should get to a vet right away! Your dog’s poor teeth could lead to much more dangerous illnesses if left untreated!
A first step is what’s most important in starting an oral care routine for your pup. Whether you go out and buy a brush or a dental chew is up to you – as long as you are doing what you need to in order to keep your dog happy and healthy!