Dental Care for Dogs, Tips and Advice: Canine Oral Hygiene

Dental Care for Dogs

For dogs, mouths are more than just a tool for eating. A dog’s mouth is, in many ways, the center of its life. Dogs eat, carry, bark, breathe, and play with their mouths. And, of course, dogs put many unpleasant things in their mouths. Dental care for dogs should be an important part of your grooming routine.

Many dog owners would like to start their dogs on an oral hygiene regimen but don’t know where to start. Dogs themselves aren’t providing many answers! To take proper care of your pooch’s mouth, you’ll need to use proper techniques, the right equipment, and do your work with a good and trustworthy attitude.

Dental care for dogs is extremely important. Who knows where your dog's mouth has been.

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How-to: The Basics

First of all, it’s important that you develop a routine for your canine oral care, which will help in two significant ways. First, routine helps ease a dog’s stress—if she knows what to expect, she’ll be more likely to trust you and have the patience necessary to sit through a task that’s less than pleasant for her. Second, routine simply makes good hygienic sense. You probably brush your teeth two or three times a day to keep them shiny and white, and you stick to real food and other sanitary things. Dogs eat dead birds. Their teeth need good, regular cleaning.

Brushing your dog’s teeth is not so different from brushing your own teeth. Once you get your pup to relax, it’s very simple: [amazon_textlink asin=’B00025K0R6′ text=’scrub toothpaste’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’animalbliss-blog-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’cdd3abfa-86ea-11e7-8a4d-291a28480ce8′] onto all parts of the teeth for a few minutes, then scrub it off. Do this two or three times a day, just like you do with your own teeth.

Related: How to Care for Your Cat’s Teeth

What to Use

As long as you’re getting toothpaste on and off your dog’s teeth, you’re probably doing an acceptable job. There’s nothing wrong with [amazon_textlink asin=’B01GBVX8KK’ text=’using a fingers toothbrush’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’animalbliss-blog-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f7858033-86ea-11e7-902e-3dee6c33ff24′], and when you’re just introducing your dog to dental care, fingers are probably better for getting her used to the process.

Once your dog is comfortable with you sticking your mint-flavored hands in its mouth, you can upgrade to a [amazon_textlink asin=’B003R0Y08S’ text=’canine toothbrush,’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’animalbliss-blog-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’119037d8-86eb-11e7-bab5-71b20341157b’] designed for a dog’s mouth, and which will reach spots and scrape off the plaque that your finger simply won’t be able to reach.

For your own hygiene’s sake, you’ll want to [amazon_textlink asin=’B0013YBCYA’ text=’wear some gloves’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’animalbliss-blog-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’40825846-86eb-11e7-8d34-219898e88e85′] brushing your dog’s teeth. (Make sure you’re aware of any allergies you or your dog might have.) And, of course, make sure you wash your hands with soap and warm water after completing your task.

Related: Taking Good Care of Your Dog’s Teeth

Make Sure Your Dog is Comfortable

Dogs aren’t born naturally comfortable with human hands and tools in their mouths. Yes, oral care is essential for your dog’s health, but you should never force your dog to do something that scares him. If your dog is frightened by the process, leave it be. Let your dog know that he can stop anytime he wants to; this will earn his trust, and eventually, you’ll be able to brush his teeth without too much hassle. And do the brushing yourself. Don’t let just anyone stick his hand in your dog’s mouth; this could stress your animal out and even lead to a lawsuit, according to Tate Law Offices.

Make sure you [amazon_textlink asin=’B000I82DU4′ text=’have some treats handy’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’animalbliss-blog-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’9c85cb48-86eb-11e7-8fa8-5d0d35cb0031′] to reward your dog’s good behavior. Dogs respond well to positive re-enforcement. A dog that lets you brush its teeth is a good dog. You should let your dog know that his patience is appreciated.

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Matt RhoneyDental Care for Dogs,” written by Matt Rhoney

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16 thoughts on “Dental Care for Dogs, Tips and Advice: Canine Oral Hygiene”

  1. I like your advice about how a dog will be more likely to trust you if he knows what to expect. I realized I’ve been doing it all wrong to my Alaskan Malamute, Lexus, since I don’t brush his teeth on a daily basis. In that way, he won’t get used to the routine and will be surprised every time I do that. I will follow your advice and set a schedule for his daily oral care, and we might also visit a pet center for proper dental care.

  2. I really like your tip about making sure that your dog is comfortable when it comes to brushing your dog’s teeth. I have been wanting to start taking better care of my puppy’s teeth for a while now so I’ll have to keep these tips in mind. We recently moved to a new town so we are looking for a new vet to go to. Hopefully, we can find a great person to work with. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I agree that it’s important to develop a routine for your dog’s oral care. You also said that a routine will help to ease your dog’s stress. I think it’s a good idea to get your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned every other year.

  4. I agree that routine is important when it comes to cleaning dog’s teeth. I think in that sense they are no different from children. It’s probably the surprise or fear of not knowing what you’re about to do to their mouth that would most cause them to be averse to teeth cleaning.

  5. Veterinarians report that an estimated 85 percent of dogs over age 4 are suffering from some form of periodontal disease, a painful oral condition that can lead to tooth loss and infection. The good news? All of these problems are preventable with regular dental cleanings and professional checkups.

  6. I did not realize that dogs had toothbrushes that are distinct from a human toothbrush. I suppose it makes sense though, as their teeth are very different and a lot harder to reach. I also agree with you that the dog needs to be okay with your hands in its mouth. I would hate to get bit while trying to do a dog a favor by brushing it’s teeth.

  7. Some people think that crunchy dry kibble is enough to keep a dog’s teeth clean – and that’s like saying, if you munch on pretzels, you don’t have to brush your teeth!

    I’m jealous of raw feeders – raw meat has enzymes in it that kill bacteria in the dog’s mouth and prevent dental diseases. Their dogs’ teeth are so white!

    In the meantime, I use a doggy toothbrush and doggy toothpaste too. I’ve also tried giving my dogs dental treats, but sometimes they don’t want to eat them, and I’m not totally sure they actually help.

    • Huh! I did not know that about raw meat, but it makes perfect sense! Thanks for letting us know that. You’re right about kibble. It’s not a replacement for a good brushing. Thanks for stopping by, Lindsay, and for your comment too. 🙂


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