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14th Jul 2023

How to brush your dog's teeth?

by Burns Team Writer

As a dog owner, you want to provide your canine companion with the best possible care. However, while you are busy giving them plenty of exercise and feeding them nutritious meals, there is one aspect of their health that you might be forgetting about. Brushing their teeth!

If brushing your dog’s teeth sounds like a daunting task, keep reading. We have prepared a simple guide on how you can keep their teeth clean, healthy and sparkling.


When to start brushing their teeth?

Brushing your dog’s teeth is a practice that should begin as early as possible, but it’s never too late to start. While it can be easier to introduce tooth brushing to a younger dog, older dogs can also benefit from having a dental care routine. With patience and consistency, you can gradually accustom them to this routine, improving their dental hygiene and overall health. No matter how old they are, brushing your dog’s teeth is essential.

How to brush their teeth?

Tooth brushing should be a positive experience for your dog. By creating a positive association with tooth brushing, you can make them more likely to cooperate in the future. For a less stressful and more enjoyable tooth brushing experience, follow our guide below.

Create a calm environment

Start by creating a calm and peaceful environment, free from distractions. This will allow your dog to feel more at ease during the process.

Start with a finger brush

If you feel comfortable, use your finger to rub their teeth and gums. The idea is that this will help them to get used to the sensation.

Introduce a tooth brush

Once they are accustomed to having their teeth touched, transition to a toothbrush. Try to brush one tooth at a time, taking it slow and steady.

Take a gentle approach

Keep the sessions short at the beginning. As your dog becomes more comfortable you can increase the brushing time.

Buy a dog toothpaste

Use a toothpaste that has been specifically formulated for dogs teeth. Let your dog sniff and taste the toothpaste first, getting them used to the flavour.

Use positive reinforcement

Reward your dog with their favourite toy after each session. This will help them to create positive associations with having their teeth brushed.

Keep it up!

Try to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. Staying consistent will help to maintain your dog’s dental hygiene, whilst reducing the risk of dental disease.

How often should you brush their teeth?

It is recommended that you brush your dog’s teeth at least three times a week. However, daily brushing is even better if you can manage it. By establishing a consistent brushing routine, you can prevent the accumulation of plaque, reduce the risk of dental diseases, and ensure your dog’s teeth stay healthy.

Alongside teeth brushing, you should be taking your dog to regular appointments at the vets. They will be able to examine your dog’s mouth, and even arrange for professional scaling and plaque removal if necessary.

What are the benefits of brushing their teeth?

Brushing your dog’s teeth is an important part of preventative healthcare. By removing plaque and preventing tartar formation, you can protect your dog’s teeth from decay. As dental issues are often linked with other health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes. So, brushing their teeth also provides an opportunity to identify any potential health concerns, allowing for early intervention. By making tooth brushing part of your dog’s daily routine, you can contribute to the long term health of your canine companion.

What are the risks of not brushing their teeth?

Not brushing your dog’s teeth can significantly increase their risk of painful dental problems and potential health complications. One of the most common dental problems to lookout for is gum disease, or periodontal disease, which affects up to 80% of dogs. This alarming statistic highlights the importance of raising awareness about the significance of canine dental care. When left unaddressed, gum disease can cause a range of problems, including persistent bad breath, gum inflammation, bleeding, and gradual erosion. If not properly managed, it can even result in tooth loss. Some of the most recognisable signs of gum disease include difficulty eating, excessive drooling and wobbly teeth.

What other questions can we help you with?

Can you use human toothpaste for your dog?

It is not recommended you use human toothpaste for your dog. Human toothpastes typically contain high levels of fluoride, which can be toxic for your dog to consume. To ensure the safety of your furry friend, always use toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs. These are designed to be safe if swallowed, and often come in flavours that your dog won’t be able to resist.

Dog toothbrushes are also widely available. These usually come in a range of shapes and sizes, to accommodate for different dog breeds.

Should you give dental sticks to your dog?

Our expert nutritionists would advise against using dental treats. These are often very calorie dense, and are a common culprit for overweight dogs. Vegetables such as carrots, broccoli stems and parsnips do exactly the same job as dental chews and are a lot healthier for your pet! However, this is not a replacement for brushing your dog’s teeth, which is the only proven way to keep your dog’s teeth clean.

What else can you do to look after your dog’s teeth?

Overall health is reflected inside and out, so keeping your dog’s insides healthy can go a long way to promoting a healthy mouth too. A diet using natural foods can minimise the amount of pollution in the system and reduce the build-up of bacteria in the mouth. You should avoid additives other than the necessary vitamins and look for a diet low in fat, both of which can produce a lot of waste for the body to deal with if fed in excessive amounts.

Our range of dog food contains only the highest quality proteins and wholegrains. With all of the ingredients your dog needs for health and vitality, our dog food is both nutritious and delicious. Choose from Chicken and Brown Rice, Lamb and Brown Rice, and Fish and Brown Rice to ensure the overall wellbeing of your furry friend.

Looking for further advice?

By prioritising your dog's oral health, you are ensuring they have a happy smile and wagging tail for years to come. If you have any further questions on caring for your dog's teeth, don't hesitate to reach out. Our team of nutritionists are here to provide you with the support you need, helping you towards a healthier and happier canine companion.

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