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How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth: A Guide for National Pet Dental Health Month

February isn’t just about roses and chocolates; it’s also National Pet Dental Health Month! While showering your furry friend with love, don’t forget to give their pearly whites some attention. Dental care is a crucial aspect of your dog’s overall well-being, and regular brushing plays a key role in maintaining their oral health.

Why Brush Your Dog’s Teeth?

Dental health is directly linked to your dog's overall health. Poor oral hygiene can lead to various issues, including gum disease, tooth decay and even systemic problems affecting the heart, liver and kidneys.
Regular brushing helps prevent plaque buildup, reduces the risk of dental diseases and keeps your dog's breath fresh.

Tips for Getting Started

Before you start brushing your dog’s teeth, it’s important to prepare yourself appropriately.

Choose the Right Tools

Invest in a dog-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste. Dog toothbrushes come in various shapes and sizes, and there are even finger brushes for those with smaller mouths.
Ensure you use toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs, as human toothpaste contains fluoride and other chemicals that can be harmful to your dog’s health. Plus dog toothpaste may even come in delicious flavors for your pup.

Introduce Your Dog to the Process Gradually

Before diving into a full brushing session, let your dog get familiar with the toothbrush and toothpaste. Allow them to sniff and lick these items, making the experience less intimidating.

Establish a Consistent Teeth Brushing Routine

Consistency is key. Aim to brush your dog's teeth 2-3 times a week, if not daily. Establishing a routine will make the process more predictable for your furry friend.

How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth: Step by Step

You should approach tooth brushing like any new skill — start slowly and give your dog time to adjust. Here are the steps to follow.
1. Place your dog in a comfortable position, like sitting or lying on the floor.
2. Lift your dog’s upper lip and start to brush the teeth in a circular motion using the toothbrush’s bristles. Begin gently, using little force as you go.
3. Strive to brush all the teeth, including those located at the back of the mouth.
4. Give your dog a treat, toy or some praise — something to reward them for being cooperative!

5 Teeth Brushing Tips for the Fussy Pooch

If your dog is anxious or hesitant to enjoy the teeth-brushing experience, here are some unique tips and tricks to boost compliance.

1. Finger Brush vs. Toothbrush

Some dogs prefer the smaller, but still textured, surface of a finger brush over a traditional toothbrush. And when it comes to pet toothbrushes, there are a number of different kinds too. Find what works best for your pup.

2. Flavored Toothpaste

Many dog toothpaste options come in flavors like chicken, beef or peanut butter. Find a flavor that your dog loves to make brushing a more enjoyable experience.

3. Start Small and Gradual

Start with short sessions and gradually increase the time as they become more comfortable. Positive reinforcement, such as treats or praise, can help create a positive association with tooth brushing.

4. Use Dental Treats and Toys

Incorporate dental treats and toys into your dog's routine. These items can help reduce plaque and tartar buildup while providing a fun and engaging activity for your pup.

5. Get Professional Dental Care

Schedule regular dental check-ups with your veterinarian. Professional cleanings may be necessary to address any stubborn plaque or tartar that brushing alone cannot eliminate. Plus, catching dental issues early on will help prevent more serious problems in the future.

Talk to Your Veterinarian About Mixlab’s Pet Pharmacy

Remember, a healthy smile leads to a happy and thriving dog! Hopefully these tips give you some direction on how to get a healthy brushing regimen started. If you’re looking to take your dog’s care to the next level, talk to your veterinarian about prescribing with Mixlab. We’re a veterinary-exclusive pharmacy that will deliver commercial, compound, and OTC medications to your door the next day — sprinkling in a touch of joy with each order!
Get in touch to learn more.