How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

From PAW’S CORNER By: Sam Mazzotta

Dear Paw’s Corner:  How do you brush a dog’s teeth?  And how often should I do it?

Brushing your dog’s teeth is important to keep them healthy throughout their life.  But it can be a little different from the way you brush your teeth, and dogs don’t always like having it done.  Here are some tips on brushing:

Try to brush your dog’s teeth at least once a week, more if possible [especially for smaller dogs and breeds like Pugs].

Use a brush and toothpaste made especially for dogs.  Minty-fresh human toothpaste is pretty nasty to dogs and could upset their stomach. A popular type of brush fits over your finger so that you can access the dog’s teeth more easily.

Start slowly: Get your dog used to having you touch its muzzle and mouth and lift up its lip.  Give it a flavored treat like the toothpaste you’ll be using: peanut butter or beef broth, for example.  Or, give it a dab of the toothpaste as a treat.

Start with one section at a time. Put a dab of paste on the brush, gently lift your dog’s lip, and brush downward from the gum line.

If your dog struggles, pause and hold its muzzle lightly until it calms down.  Then try again.  If it really raises a fuss, stop and try again tomorrow.

Don’t reprimand it for misbehaving.  This is really weird stuff for a dog.  Using a soothing voice and give it lots of praise and love during and afterward.

More details can be found at the ASPCA website: www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/brushing-your-dogs-teeth.

 


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