Ten Tips for Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
1. The first step in beginning a home dental care program for your pet is to select a quiet, convenient time when you and your pet are both relaxed. After the evening meal is a good time for most people.
2. For the first few days, simply hold your pet in a way that is comfortable for both of you – either in your lap, or by your side – and gently stroke the outside of the cheeks with your finger for a few minutes.
3. After your pet becomes comfortable with the routine, place a small amount of the toothpaste on your finger and let him/her sample the favour. Pets usually like the taste of the paste and will soon consider it a treat.
4. Place a small amount of the toothpaste on the toothbrush and offer it to your pet as a lick. This gets your pet accustomed to the feel of the brush and helps assure acceptance of the brushing that will follow.
5. When you feel that your pet is comfortable with the procedure, begin the brushing by gently raising the upper lip and brushing one or two teeth in a slow, gentle, circular motion. Brush only a few teeth the first time and don’t forget to give your pet a lot of praise and reassurance.
6. Gradually increase the number of teeth that you brush each day until the entire mouth is being brushed. You need only brush the outside edge of the teeth.
7. It is most important to go slowly – especially if brushing is a new experience for your pet. Be patient, proceed gently and always use plenty of petting and praise. Soon, both you and your pet will look forward to the time you spend together during this important health care procedure.
8. Always use a toothpaste that is especially formulated for your pet. Your family toothpaste can upset your pet’s stomach and cause foaming. Also, the high level of sodium in baking soda can cause problems for some animals, especially those with a heart condition.
9. If your pet struggles a lot, you might need some help getting started. One method that works is to wrap your pet in a towel or small blanket with just the head protruding. You are in much better control with the legs confined this way.
10. Once you’re all done, make sure to give your dog a little treat so they’ll have some positive association with teeth brushing time!