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How Do You Clean A Dog’s Teeth?

We’re great believers in prevention being better than cure – and that goes for your dog’s dental health as much as everything else. A question we’re asked often by pet owners is ‘How do you clean dogs teeth?’, and it’s one our vets are happy to keep answering because it shows that responsible pet owners are becoming increasingly aware of how important it is to take care of their dogs’ pearly whites!

We’ve talked before about how oral health can be an early indicator of other issues, as well as the problems bad teeth can cause your dog on their own – difficulty eating, loss of appetite, bad breath and so on. A healthy smile is just as important for your dog as it is for the human members of your family!

The first step to a clean and healthy mouth for your dog is a dental check up. Thankfully, you don’t need to hunt for a specialist doggy dentist; your local White Cross Vet is more than qualified! What’s even better is that we offer free dental check-ups to all our patients, so get in touch to book yours. Pets who are signed up to our Complete Wellness Plan also receive 20% off the cost of dog teeth cleaning and all other dental procedures.

Your vet will thoroughly examine your pet’s mouth and teeth, and if necessary, arrange to have them professionally cleaned above and below the gum line. Your vet will then give you all the pet dental care advice you need to start to clean your dog’s teeth at home, from the best dog teeth cleaning products through to tips on how you actually brush a dog’s teeth.

If you have a new puppy, make cleaning their teeth a part of their daily routine as early as possible – it will quickly become second nature. Older dogs who aren’t used to having their teeth brushed might not be quite so enthusiastic at first, but with a little persistence on your part, it will soon become a natural part of their routine.

Ask your vet for advice on choosing a toothbrush and toothpaste for your dog. Never use human toothpaste as these can make your pet ill, you can use either a brush designed specifically for dogs’ teeth or a child’s toothbrush as they are softer and specially shaped.

Cleaning your dog’s teeth at home is easy and doesn’t take long. Choose a time when both you and your pet are relaxed, and aim for a time that you’ll be able to stick to every day. For the first few days, forget the brush and simply hold your pet as you would when you’re petting them and gently stroke the outside of their cheeks with your finger for a minute or two. Afterwards, reward your pet with an appropriate treat and lots of praise.

Once your pet is comfortable with that, place a small amount of the toothpaste on your finger and let your pet sample the flavour.

Next, it’s time to introduce the brush. Put a small amount of toothpaste on the brush, gently raise your dog’s upper lip and place the brush against an upper tooth. With a slow circular motion gently brush only that tooth and the adjoining gum-line.

Each day, increase the number of teeth you brush, but go slowly and always stop before your dog becomes uncomfortable. Aim to build up to about 30 seconds of brushing per side.

Don’t forget to reward your pet with a treat and lots of praise after every brush. Ideally, you should try to brush your dog’s teeth every day, but occasionally missing a day here or there isn’t the end of the world.

Feeding your dog a diet which has been specifically designed to help care for your pet’s teeth is a great way to keep their teeth clean, Hills TD has larger kibble which cleans plaque off the tooth as your dog bites through it. Alternatively VetAquadent is a handy mouthwash for dogs where brushing might not be an option.

If you need more advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local White Cross Vets clinic and book your free dental check up today.


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