How to Brush Your Dogs Teeth

Brushing your dog’s teeth for the first time can be intimidating, and you may be wondering where to start. Having their teeth brushed is an unnatural feeling for dogs, so you must be diligent in taking all the proper steps to ensure that your dog is introduced stress-free.

Your local experts at Feeds’ n Needs will gladly help you select the proper tools to help you get started brushing your pup’s teeth!

What you’ll need

  • Dog toothbrush or finger brush
  • Pet safe toothpaste
  • A soft cloth or piece of sterile gauze
  • Your dog’s favourite treats

Introducing your dog to teeth brushing should be done gradually over several sessions, and depending on your dog, it can take a week to several months to accomplish successfully. Only do as much as your dog will tolerate during one session, and be sure to reward them through the entire process.

How to Brush Their Teeth

Step 1:

  • Make sure your hands are clean before you begin, then find a quiet place where you and your dog will be comfortable without any distractions.

Step 2:

  • Offer your dog a taste of the pet-safe toothpaste you will be using by putting a small amount on your finger and letting them lick it off.

Step 3:

  • Using your finger, gently rub a bit of toothpaste onto the outer side of the dog’s upper teeth in a back-and-forth motion. Your dog may only tolerate a few seconds of this, so it’s best to focus on only a few teeth at first.

Step 4:

  • Once your dog is comfortable with step 3, use a soft cloth or sterile gauze over your finger to brush the toothpaste onto your dog’s teeth. Go slow and focus on brushing only the outsides of the teeth. Most of the plaque and tartar buildup occurs on the outer sides of the teeth, so brushing the inner sides should only be done once your dog is very comfortable with brushing their teeth.

Step 5:

  • Next, it’s time to introduce the toothbrush or finger brush to your dog. Apply a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to the brush, and holding it at a 45-degree angle, gently lift one side of your dog’s lips and begin brushing. Use circular motions and start with the teeth at the back, slowly working towards the front on each side. Once your dog feels comfortable with this, you may also begin brushing its bottom teeth during your sessions. To brush the bottom teeth, gently tilt the dog’s head back, allowing their mouth to open slightly. You can use your finger to hold the lip away from the teeth, then repeat the same brushing process that you did on the top. It is recommended to brush each side for 30 seconds if your dog allows it.

Step 6:

  • Thoroughly rinse your dog’s toothbrush after every use, and wash your hands to avoid spreading any harmful bacteria. Pet toothbrushes should be replaced every three months, and NEVER use the same toothbrush on multiple pets.

Praising your dog and rewarding them with treats throughout every step will help to reinforce their positive association with having their teeth brushed. We carry a wide variety of healthy treats that your pup will find irresistible, even while having their teeth brushed!

For more information on the importance of dental health in pets and what you can do to prevent dental disease, check out some of our other helpful blogs!

Emily Ernest

Store Manager, Port Williams NS