How To Clean Your Dog's Teeth

Posted on: 29 October 2015

Good oral health is extremely important for your dog's overall well-being, and it starts with clean teeth.  Poor dental care can result in rotten teeth and gum disease that could cause your pet discomfort and give him foul-smelling breath.  Your local mobile dog grooming service will be able to clean your dog's teeth for you; however, it's a good idea to familiarise your dog with the process before a stranger undertakes it.

Here's how to accustom your dog to having his teeth cleaned.

The right tools for the job

The most important thing to note is that human toothpaste and toothbrushes are not suitable for use on animals.  Not only are the brushes too big and unwieldy, many of the ingredients of toothpaste are not compatible with your pet's digestive system and could make him ill.

Use only pet-specific toothpaste or gel to clean your dog's teeth.  These products come in pet-friendly flavours like liver, chicken or malt and contain special enzymes that kill bacteria and prevent the formation of plaque.  You can obtain something suitable either from your vet or from a good pet store. 

Pet toothbrushes come in two forms.  A standard brush looks much like a human one, but with a smaller head and a longer handle.  Some dogs are wary of having such a strange object inserted into their mouths, and a good alternative is a finger brush. This looks like a soft plastic thimble with a slightly rough surface.  Simply pop the brush onto your finger and use it to rub your pet's teeth.

How to brush your dog's teeth

This is a process that should be introduced gradually, and you must be patient.  Use plenty of praise throughout your dog's tooth brushing lessons, and reward him with treats so that the sessions are always fun. 

Never use force to try to restrain your dog.  If your dog becomes aggressive or distressed, stop immediately and consult your vet for advice.

  1. Start by gently stroking the outside of your dog's face with your finger.  Carefully lift up his lip for a few seconds.  Praise your dog and give them a treat. 
  2. Repeat the process as above, but this time put a small blob of toothpaste on your finger and allow your pet to taste it.  
  3. The next day, repeat  step 2 and then pop some toothpaste onto your finger and very gently run it over your dog's teeth for half a minute or so.  Reward and treat your dog. 
  4. On day three, repeat step 3. Now put some toothpaste onto the toothbrush, and very gently use it on your dog's teeth, just for half a minute.  
  5. The following day, repeat the process but increase the time spent cleaning your dog's teeth to a couple of minutes.

Now that your dog is confident and happy having his teeth cleaned, you can ask your dog groomer to clean them as part of your pet's regular grooming session.

In conclusion

It's extremely important for your dog's general health that he learns to have his teeth cleaned.  Poor oral hygiene can result in misery and discomfort for your dog and expensive extra veterinary visits.  Use the guide above to familiarise your dog with teeth cleaning so that you can include it in his regular grooming sessions. For more information, contact a local grooming service like Foxy's Mobile Dog Washing & Grooming Service