How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Keeping your dog's teeth clean is important, as ignoring this can lead to plaque build-up and dental disease. This blog tells about the way to brush your dog's teeth.



4 min read

Brushing your pup’s teeth is necessary as it removes plaque, which prevents bad breathand other serious problems like gum disease or decayed teeth. That said, , many pet owners tend to overlook this facet of canine grooming. You should not make that mistake. So, if you’re ready to do more than just brush your dog’s hair or clip its nails, here’s a guide on how to brush your dog’s teeth. 

Acquire the Right Tools

The first thing you should do is purchase a high-quality dog toothbrush. These toothbrushes have long and curved handles that make it easy for you to reach your pup’s teeth at the back. These toothbrushes also have softer bristles that are angled for better reach.

You should also purchase toothpaste that’s made for dogs specifically.These toothbrushes come in different  flavors, too, such as peanut butter or poultry. Avoid other kinds of toothpaste as they may contain substances that can be harmful to your pup’s health.

Pick a Relaxed Time and Environment

The moment at which you brush your dog’s teeth makes a difference in your dog’s readiness and tolerance to the process. You should pick a time that’s calm and quiet. Ideally, it should also only you and your dog in that space with little stimuli.Too much activity can stress your dog.Thus, pick a spot where your dog will feel comfortable and safe. In addition to that, the room should have sufficient lighting so you can see everything you’re doing properly.

Assume a Friendly Position

After you find the right spot, make sure to keep your dog comfortable throughout the process. Thus, make sure you don’t stand over your dog as it may seem like a threatening stance. Instead, you should kneel or sit beside or in front of your dog. This stance will help keep its anxiety levels low. If you suspect that your dog is feeling scared or upset by this process, then stop it and resume it at another time. Getting your dog used to this can take some time.

Touch Its Teeth and Gums with Your Finger

Before brushing your dog’s teeth, let it know that you’re going to be interacting with its teeth and gums. Lift your dog’s top lip and hold it up. Next, gently touch its top teeth and gums with your finger. After touching it for a few seconds, lower its lip. Repeat the process with the lower lip.

It’s best to perform this task after your dog is comfortable with you touching its mouth. You can consider taking training classes from the Canine Good Citizen program by the American Kennel Club to improve your relationship with your pet.

Touch Its Teeth and Gums with the ToothBrush

Now that you’ve made your dog comfortable with what you’re doing, you can touch its teeth and gums with the toothbrush. It’s best if you go about the process the same way you did with your finger. After lifting each lip and touching its teeth, praise your dog and reward it with a treat after the process. Positive reinforcement can help make your pup more acceptingof the process.

Let Your Dog Get Used to the ToothPaste

Put a bit of toothpaste on your finger and put it in front of your dog’s face, encouraging it to lick it. This way, it’ll get used to the toothpaste’s taste and texture before you put a lot of it directly into its mouth. It may take some time until you find a toothpaste that your dog may like.

Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Put some toothpaste onto the toothbrush and begin brushing your dog’s teeth. It’s best to start from the top teeth as you did before. Lift its upper lip and hold it there. Let the toothbrush, with the toothpaste, gently press against its top teeth. 

Start with Its Top Teeth

Begin moving the toothbrush in a circular motion at the front of its top teeth. Make sure you brush every part well, including the backside of its front teeth. Also, angle the toothbrush so that the bristles reach your dog’s gum line. After brushing the front teeth, move on to the back ones.

Theirgums may bleed a bit when brushing your dog’s teeth, but don’t be alarmed. Slight bleeding is expected and normal. However, excessive bleeding could mean that you’re too aggressive with the brushing or that your dog may have gum disease. Take your dog to the vet in that case for diagnosis and treatment.

Make sure to consistently praise your dog for being a good boy or good girl throughout the process. This way, it’ll help reduce its anxiety levels and keep it relatively comfortable with the process.

Move onto the Bottom Teeth

Brush your dog’s bottom teeth the same way you cleaned the top teeth. Also, for both the top and bottom, make sure to brush the outside of the back teeth. This spot is where you’ll see the most plaque buildup, so it’s best to clean it well. It’s okay if you cannot reach the inside of its back teeth because its rough tongue tends to keep it relatively clean anyway.

End the Process on a Positive Note

You must remember that brushing your dog’s teeth is a process that it doesn’t experience naturally. So, you must try and reinforce the behavior through positive reinforcement. Talk to your pet calmly and softly as much as possible, detailing what you’re doing. Give it pats on its head, too, while praising it.

After you’ve done everything, you can reward it with more attention and give it its favorite treat. This will help it become used to it in the long run. It’s also best to gradually approach the process, stopping and starting another day when your dog is upset. You should also speak to your vet about how frequently you should brush your dog’s teeth. This way, you can make sure your dog’s dental health is in good condition at all times.