95% of dog owners do not regularly brush their dog’s teeth. This could be the primary reason why four out of five dogs over the age of three have periodontitis (gum disease). But just because most people don’t do something does not mean it should be ignored. The oral health of your dog can mean the difference between suffering and a great quality of life over the years. Have you ever wondered how often you should brush your dog’s teeth to avoid a potentially painful future for your pet? Let’s take a closer look.
Paired with a dental cleaning from your vet once a year, establishing an at-home dental care routine for your dog is the best way to give your pup a happy mouth. Getting into the habit of daily brushing is the ideal, but not everyone is willing to set aside 10-15 minutes per day, per pet to get the job done. The fact is, many people live busy lives and have a full schedule just taking care of the daily affairs. Even so, if you can squeeze in the time to help your dog with their oral health needs, they will be thanking you down the road.
Doggy dental problems can cause immense pain and result in costly repairs. Sometimes the damage is permanent if left too long and can only be remediated with surgical intervention. Daily brushing is your first line of defense against the bacterial build up under the gum line that causes all the problems. The more you can remove the bacteria from the tooth surface and outer gums, the less it can proliferate under the gum line.
The first step in brushing a dog’s teeth is getting them prepared for a new experience. Before establishing a brushing routine, give your pup an opportunity to get used to the sensation of someone touching their teeth and gums. For a few days prior to introducing a toothbrush, choose a time to sit your pup down and gently begin massaging their gums. Be encouraging and reward them with a treat for good behavior.
After a couple of days, introduce them to the flavor of your chosen doggy toothpaste. If after a few days they do not accept the toothpaste, try another flavor. Once you land on a flavor your pup enjoys as a treat, you’re ready to introduce the toothbrush. Make sure to get a proper dog toothbrush for this task as it makes the process easier for you and your dog.
Add a small amount of toothpaste to the brush and begin brushing by angling the brush 45º and get it right up to the gum line. Gently brush in a circular motion focussing on plaque removal. Be patient. If you don’t get the whole mouth the first few times, that’s entirely okay. Over the course of a couple weeks, you will find that your dog will get used to the process and even come to enjoy it. The personal time with you, the flavor of the toothpaste, and the treats you give after cleaning are all great incentives for brush time.
When it comes to how often you should brush a dog’s teeth, once per day is the ideal. However, any brushing is better than not brushing at all. If you can establish a regular oral health routine that includes daily brushing and yearly professional dental cleanings you will ensure your pup has a healthy and pain-free mouth for many years. If you have any questions, please make sure to reach out to your friendly team of veterinarians. We are here to help you and your pet have a long, happy, and healthy experience together!