How to brush a dog’s teeth


Dental Care For Dogs

When brushing your pet’s teeth, hold the toothbrush at a 45 -degree angle to the tooth surface and use small circular movements. Do not use toothpaste made for people; veterinary toothpaste is optional.

Daily tooth brushing is an essential part of your pet’s health. As with any new learned behavior, it is important to start slowly, with patience and positive reinforcement, to condition your pet to allow the tooth brushing process.

To start, place a small amount of veterinary toothpaste on your finger and let your pet sniff and lick it. If your pet shows interest in the flavor of the toothpaste, use it. If your pet is not interested in the toothpaste, brush the teeth without it. Do not use human toothpaste because it contains fluoride, which should not be swallowed. Concentrate on the outer surfaces of the teeth. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth surface, with the bristles pointing toward the gum line. This allows the cleaning of the gum line while the teeth are being brushed. Work the toothbrush in a circular motion. Try for 15 seconds on each side of the mouth. Go slowly, and be patient. If things aren’t going well, wait a few hours before trying again.


Information provided by Daniel T. Carmichael, DVM, DAVDC, Veterinary Medical Center,75 Sunrise Highway, West Islip, NY 11795. This client information sheet may be photocopied for distribution by veterinarians to their clients. Written permission is required for any other use.  May 2007, Veterinary Magazine.



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