Introducing good dental care into your dog’s life is a great way to bond with your canine friend, while helping keep their teeth and gums healthier and helping to prevent gum disease. Just like with people, the teeth and gums of dogs require daily care, and because they can’t brush their own teeth, we need to help them.
Pedigree has worked alongside The British Veterinary Dental Association to create a simple step-by-step guide to successfully brushing your dog’s teeth without difficulty.
Some tips before getting started:
The earlier you start tending to your canine friend’s teeth, the better accustomed he or she will become to the brushing process. Try performing this task in a quiet place without distractions; otherwise your dog may be more interested in what the cat is doing or his favourite toy staring him in the eyes…
Before getting started, some important things to remember to include:
• Keep brushing sessions short – from a few seconds to a couple of minutes
• Establish a routine that suits you so that your dog can become accustomed to brushing time
• Every dog is different, so train your dog at a pace that suits them
• It’s important to give praise in reward for good behaviour
• As with every situation, it’s essential that you take care when putting your fingers into your dog’s mouth. It is important to take small steps, building the contact up gradually so that your dog is comfortable with having his mouth handled
What you will need:
• A small toothbrush with medium bristles
• Dog toothpaste (do not use human toothpaste as it contains fluoride which is harmful to dogs)
• Some fresh water
Steps to brushing your dog’s teeth
Step 1: Introduce your dog to the toothpaste
Smear a little toothpaste on your finger and allow your dog to taste it – he or she should enjoy the taste and be keen for more.
Step 2: It’s a good idea to start cleaning your dog’s teeth with your finger and some toothpaste. This is to help get your dog used to having something in their mouth. Gently hold your dog’s muzzle closed to prevent snapping and rub your finger over the side of the teeth.
Step 3: Start with the canine teeth
Once your dog has become used to having your finger in their mouth, it’s time to introduce the toothbrush. Wet the toothbrush and add toothpaste (pushing it down into the bristles). Gently hold the muzzle closed and lift the top lip on one side of the mouth and softly brush the canine teeth. Change your hold on the muzzle so that you can lift the lip and clean the canines on the other side.
Tip: Don’t start with the incisor teeth at the front of the mouth, as they are more sensitive.
Step 4: Cleaning the teeth further back
Once finished with the canines, brush the teeth further back in the mouth. If you’re struggling to get inside the cheek, try using a smaller brush. First brush the upper teeth and then allow the mouth to open slightly so that you will be able to brush along the gum line of the lower teeth.
Step 5: Brush all the teeth
After you have brushed both sides on the canines and back teeth, lift the top lip in the front of the mouth (still holding the mouth closed) and brush the incisors.
For the best results, brushing should be done every day. Remember to be patient as your dog is not fluent in people talk, and if he or she refuses to sit still, you should first work on teaching the ‘sit’ and ‘wait’ commands.
Treating your dog’s teeth with treats
Pedigree has developed a range of dental care products that help provide a deep clean right down the gum line, reduce tartar build-up and help keep your dog’s breath fresh.
In addition to regular brushing, dental care products such as Pedigree Dentastix are a great way to effortlessly keep your dog’s teeth and gums strong and healthy.
With the right level of general health and dental hygiene routines, your dog can get along with the really important stuff like running around in the garden.