Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth, along with a healthy diet and plenty of chew toys, can go a long way toward keeping her mouth healthy. Bacteria and plaque-forming foods can cause build-up on a dog’s teeth. This can harden into tartar, potentially causing gingivitis, receding gums and tooth loss. Many pooches show signs of gum disease by the time they’re four years old because they aren’t provided with proper mouth care.
Give your dog regular home checks and you’ll have a very contented pooch with a dazzling smile. Brushing two to three times a week is recommended.
- First, you’ll want to get your pet used to the idea of having her teeth brushed. To do this, start by gently massaging her lips with your finger in a circular motion for 30 to 60 seconds once or twice a day for a few weeks before moving on to her teeth and gums.
- After a few sessions or when your pooch seems comfortable, put a little bit of dog-formulated toothpaste on her lips to get her used to the taste.
- Next, introduce a toothbrush designed especially for cats or dogs—it will be smaller than human toothbrushes and have softer bristles. Toothbrushes that you can wear over your finger are also available and allow you to give a nice massage to your pet’s gums.
- Place the brush or your gauze-wrapped finger at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and clean in small, circular motions. Work on one area of your dog’s mouth at a time, lifting her lip as necessary. The side of the tooth that touches the cheek usually has the most tartar, and giving a final downward stroke can help to remove it.
- If your dog resists having the inner surfaces of her teeth cleaned, don’t fight it—only a small amount of tartar accumulates there. Once you get the technique down, go for a brushing two or three times a week.