How to Brush a Dog’s Teeth
By: Dr. Clayton Greenway, B.Sc., DVM | Nov 4, 2016
Dr. Greenway demonstrates how to brush a dog’s teeth and offers tips and advice to make the process easier for both you and your dog. Other topics covered in this video include dental disease, tooth decay, neck lesions, enzymatic toothpaste, daily brushing, starting slowly, cavity, gingivitis, when to perform a cleaning, general anesthesia, blood work, heart, scaling, polish, prophy, tooth assessment, dental X-rays, oral infections and tooth decay.
I’m Dr. Clayton greenway with healthcarforpets.com and this is Trudy. We’re going to talk about how to brush a dog’s teeth. I think it’s a really important thing to try to do and to get them used to it, you’re going to want to start off very slowly. You can watch our other videos about dental health care and about toothbrushing to learn a little bit more about how to do that.
So the first thing is, is you just want to get them used to your fingers being around their mouth, putting them around their lips and I want to mention that if your dog is not accepting of this, you may not want to try this at all. I don’t want you to put yourself in danger or put yourself at risk of getting bitten. Some dogs, although they’re nice to you at home in most circumstances, once you start to do things like this they may become frightened and they could act differently then you’re used to.
So the first thing that’s really important is that when we clean teeth, you only need to clean the outsides of the teeth, that’s where the tartar accumulates. So a lot of people think that you have to crank their mouth open to gain access to the teeth and if I try to do that Trudy is going to lock her mouth down and she’s not going to like that very much. A lot of dogs actually will back up and it will be much harder to deal with them. So what you want to do is just put your fingers around her muzzle and you could actually stand in front of her, possibly with her bum in the corner of a room so she can’t back up from you and you just look directly at her mouth. Once she’s used to your finger being in her mouth, you then want to rub along the sides of the teeth, just inside the lip. You’re then going to want to put your toothpaste on your finger and just see if she likes it and likes the taste of it or the smell of it.
Now I’d have you do this every day for a little while before you progress to the next stage which is applying the toothpaste to the toothbrush. So then you want to take your toothbrush, hold her muzzle and just lift her lip up and start brushing the teeth, just the sides of them and if you’re facing her, you can run it this way. You don’t have to wrestle with them that much. You don’t need to see the teeth, I can actually feel that I’m getting on the teeth quite well. Once they get more comfortable, you could lift the gum and then you can see where you’re exactly brushing the teeth.
It’s important to make this easy to do because you have to incorporate it into your daily routine. You really want to try to brush your pet’s teeth at least five times a week so if it’s difficult, it’s probably not something you’re going to stick to. So make it easy, introduce it slowly and always praise them with a lot of love and a lot of treats afterwards to get them used to it. By doing this, you’re really going to improve your dog’s dental health and you’re really going to cut down on the need for dental cleanings under a general anesthetic and tooth extractions in the future.
We know now that their dental health has a large impact on their overall health. So if you can incorporate this into your care for your pet, you’re really going to improve their overall health for the rest of their life and that’s what’s important to us here at healthcareforpets.com.
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