Dental hygiene is just as necessary for dogs as it is for humans. Your dog’s teeth may accumulate a buildup of plaque and bacteria that might lead to gum disease if left without brushing.
So, you want to start a routine for your dog’s dental hygiene, but you don’t know how to go about it. For instance, you might be wondering –
How often should I brush my dog’s teeth?
We discuss the importance of brushing your dog’s teeth and how often you should do it. We also share with you a guide on how to brush a dog’s teeth!
Why You Should Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Before we talk about how often you should brush your dog’s teeth, you should first know the importance of doggie dental care. It’s a big part of their overall health.
One reason to brush your dog’s teeth is to avoid bad breath. You don’t want to get kisses from a dog with a foul breath! It’s not only unhygienic, but it’s also very bad for your dog’s health
This disease is characterized by an inflammation of a dog’s teeth, from gums to roots, and even the bone around the roots.
Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria, food, saliva, and other particles in your dog’s mouth. It starts out as gingivitis and progresses to affecting your dog’s bone structure.
Your dog’s white blood cells then attack the bacteria, leading to inflammation, destroyed tissue, and teeth loss.
Brushing your dog’s teeth is also important to protect them from the pain of this disease.
This is more common in Yorkies, Dachshunds, Schnauzers, Chihuahuas, and other small-breed dogs.
Unfortunately, it can be hard for you to tell whether your dog is experiencing dental pain or not.
They can have abscessed teeth and still eat fine. The best you can do is take care of their teeth to help avoid it.
Periodontal disease, when already severe, may cause complications of the heart, kidney, and other internal organs.
Dogs are more prone to diseases affecting these parts of the body when they have an unchecked periodontal disease.
This occurs when bacteria enters the swollen gums and passes through the bloodstream.
When to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
You should start brushing your dog’s teeth as early as possible because periodontal disease can occur as young as three years old. And besides, older dogs might be less accepting of teeth brushing.
Puppies start losing their baby teeth between four to six months of age, but you have to start brushing their teeth between the ages of eight and sixteen weeks to make the job easier as they grow older.
When puppies start to lose their baby teeth, the front part, or the incisors, will be the first to go. The new, permanent, adult teeth will push out the baby teeth.
When they are undergoing this natural process, they may have foul breath and you may notice blood on any hard items they chew on. That’s one good reason to start brushing their teeth early on.
How Often You Should Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
There is no once size fits all guideline on how often you should brush your dog’s teeth. According to Dr. Fiona Caldwell, in her video below, you should brush your dog’s teeth as often as you can.
Ideally, you would want to brush your furry friend’s teeth every day. However, we all know that’s hard to do, especially if you work a demanding job and have children to raise.
So, it’s okay to aim for a thorough brushing two to three times a week to keep their teeth clean and to avoid the buildup of plaque and tartar.
Even if you do it once a week, that’s better than not brushing their teeth at all.
You also want to start brushing their teeth as early as possible to lessen the risk of periodontal disease and to help get your puppy used to it.
How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
To be successful at brushing your dog’s teeth, you have to make it a positive experience for both of you. Give them praise and reassurance throughout the process.
Start by choosing the right time and place. Make sure they are first calm and relaxed. Then, hold them securely.
If your pup is small, place them on your lap with their head away from you.
If your dog is larger, you should sit on a chair and have your dog sit beside you so that you can comfortably handle his mouth and teeth.
You’ll want to use a toothbrush made for dogs, like Pet Republique Dog Toothbrush. The bristles are softer and specially angled. They are also dual-headed, with a small brush at one side and a big one at the other.
Be sure to use dog toothpaste, too. We recommend Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste. It’s a non-foaming formula than does not require rinsing. It also has a poultry flavor so your dog will hopefully enjoy the routine more!
Don’t stand above your dog, hold them down, or take a threatening stance. Kneel or sit down instead.
Start slowly and get them comfortable with you touching their mouth and lifting their teeth.
Then, let them taste the toothpaste and try brushing their teeth this time. Make sure to reward them with praise along the way.
This will take a while so try experimenting and stay patient. It’s also okay to take breaks!
Once they start associating the toothpaste and toothbrush with fun, start brushing their teeth regularly.
The best tip is to focus on the outer parts of the teeth since this is where they are most likely to have a lot of buildups. It’s also the safest way to brush!
Dog Dental Health is Essential!
It’s important to start early and keep maintaining your dog’s dental health to avoid periodontal disease.
This disease not only affects your dog’s gums and teeth, but also their kidney, heart, and other internal organs when the dental disease is left unattended.
Brush your dog’s teeth as often as possible. If you can, do it every day. However, a few times a week is safe enough to avoid tartar and plaque buildup.
To ensure success in brushing your dog’s teeth, make it a positive experience for both of you.
Give them praise and reassurance throughout the process.