How to Brush your Pet's Teeth

Brushing your pet's teeth is considered the gold standard for maintaining healthy teeth. This handout will help you to teach your dog to cooperate during brushing.

Introduction

When recommending tooth brushing, there are 3 strict requirements:

  1. A cooperative pet
  2. A motivated pet owner
  3. A pet owner who is confident to perform the task

Step 1: Acclimating your dog to mouth handling

  • Start at an early age
  • Place a little dog toothpaste on your finger - it is important to only use a pet-approved product
  • Let your dog lick the toothpaste from your hand
  • Do these several days in a row
  • Follow with a treat reward and lots of praise

Step 2: Simulating brushing with your finger

  • Wrap soft gauze around your finger
  • Place a little paste on your pet’s large canine teeth in the front
  • Gently rub the tooth in a circular motion
  • Do this for several days
  • Follow it with a reward and praise
  • As the pet gets comfortable, extend the finger down the sides of the mouth

Step 3: Introducing the toothbrush

  • Place dog toothpaste on a finger the brush or soft pet toothbrush
  • Allow your pet to lick it from the brush
  • Praise and reward your dog
  • Repeat step for several days

Step 4: Brushing your dog's teeth

  • Gently hold back your pet’s lips
  • Brush the outside of each tooth, moving the brush gently in a circular motion with the brush at a 45-degree angle
  • Talk to your dog in a soothing voice & always following sessions with treats
  • Brush a few teeth the 1st time and gradually lengthen each session
  • Concentrate on the area when the gum meets the tooth

Ideally, you should try to brush your pet's teeth every day. If time does not permit, try to commit to at least twice a week with the addition of other forms of dental homecare such as dental chews or chew toys throughout the week.