The Best Way To Brush Your Dog's Teeth
Brushing your dog's teeth seems absurd, right? Who even does that? Well, responsible pet parents do because this is one of the best ways to protect your pup's health. In fact, healthy teeth mean a healthy gut.
Unfortunately, many owners overlook this type of grooming. We mostly tend to focus on a healthy and shiny coat, but hardly anyone cares about tooth brushing. That’s about to change. In this article, we will discuss the reasons why to brush your dog's teeth and how to do it properly.
Why use toothpaste for dogs?
Helps you get rid of bad breath
Dogs have bad breath, same as humans. But what most owners don't realise is that stinky breath can be linked to some gastrointestinal, lung, or dental issues. If you notice your canine's breath suddenly smells differently, exceptionally bad or sweet, visit the vet.
Regular brushing and checkups may ensure your pet's wellbeing and prevent dental issues.
Averts gum disease
Gum disease often affects the tissue that surrounds your pup's teeth, more specifically gums. It's one of the most common conditions found in dogs. Also, minerals in saliva along with food remains and bacteria will form plaque, which can cause gingivitis, an inflammatory condition.
One of the best ways to prevent gum diseases is to regularly brush your pet's teeth and use toothpaste specifically designed for this purpose.
Prevents tooth decay
Nowadays, we have toothpaste that is formulated in a way to prevent tooth decay. These types of products will remove plaque from your pet's teeth. However, you need to brush their teeth daily. If you find something irregular in their mouth, don't try to fix it at home; go to a vet.
DIY dental care can do more harm than good and cause unnecessary pain to your pet while damaging their gums and teeth.
Inflammation is a serious condition that needs to be treated at a vet's office. Due to a lot of pain, your dog will avoid drinking and eating properly. You will notice swelling and redness around their gums, which can be extremely painful.
Other symptoms may include fatigue, continuous pawing, excessive drooling, whining, bad breath and lack of interest. Usually, poor dental hygiene leads to gum infection. Therefore, we can't stress enough how important it is to regularly use toothpaste and brush your dog's teeth.
Tartar buildup leads to serious tooth issues. While it doesn't take too long to form, it can instantly damage your pet's teeth. It first starts as plaque that forms a few hours after eating. When plaque and salt from the dog's saliva mix up, they create a buildup that, after some time, hardens and turns into tartar.
Tartar is an excellent ground for bacteria growth, causing many dental issues, such as tooth loss or tooth decay. High-quality toothpaste and regular brushing will prevent tartar from forming, ensuring your dog has nice and healthy teeth.
What toothpaste is best for dogs?
Considering there are multiple brands available on the market, pet parents have difficulty choosing the right one. While a brand can make a difference, the ingredients list is what you should be focusing on.
Make sure that the toothpaste you choose has the following ingredients:
Coconut oil has numerous benefits for your dog's teeth and gums. First of all, it can kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi due to lauric acids. Some studies have shown that coconut oil can reduce gingivitis, a heavy inflammation of the gums.
The regular use of coconut oil on teeth can minimise plaque buildup and combat many gum diseases.
Many may confuse MCT oil with coconut oil, but there is a difference. MCT oil is present in dairy products, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil. Manufacturers make MCT oil by refining palm or coconut oil to create a pure concentrate.
Similar to coconut oil, MCT oil has the ability to fight bacteria and keep your dog's teeth and gums healthy.
Green tea extract
Green tea extract is great for the oral cavity because it features compounds that control inflammation and fight bacterial infection. Considering it's rich in antioxidants, green tea extract can minimise dental plaque and the acidity of saliva.
Further on, this ingredient can be a valuable ally in fighting cavities. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, green tea extract helps with gum diseases. On top of everything, green tea is linked with better breath. Why? It kills germs that make your pup's mouth smelly.
Lemon myrtle has proven antimicrobial properties and has been used for centuries to treat inflammation and oral infection. So naturally, many toothpaste brands use it as an active ingredient. Also, its delicious flavour will have your canine craving for more.
Beeswax is a common ingredient in toothpaste, and it's perfectly safe for dogs. It helps maintain dental hygiene, and it's often used as a treatment for infections.
Can you use human toothpaste on dogs?
Absolutely not! There are components in human toothpaste that are toxic to canines. Let's start with the most obvious one, fluoride.
In high doses, fluoride is poisonous to dogs. Human toothpaste is made to be rinsed, not swallowed. So, how do you plan to convince your pooch to spit the toothpaste out? Of course, your dog might not feel anything if you use human toothpaste once or twice, but long-term exposure increases toxicity levels in their bodies.
The acute signs of fluoride toxicity include:
- Seizures and weakness
- Urinary and faecal incontinence
- Nausea and vomiting
- Excessive drooling
After all, canine toothpaste is designed to be swallowed and be perfectly safe for your pup.
SLS or sodium lauryl sulfate is the next ingredient you need to keep a close eye on. Human toothpaste is designed to foam, thanks to SLS. When you expose canines to SLS, it can lead to gastrointestinal issues. That's why toothpaste for dogs never foams.
And lastly, we have xylitol, a sugar substitute in human hygiene products and food. While this ingredient has been linked to preventing tooth decay in people, that's not the case with pups.
Sadly, this ingredient has been slowly killing dogs, causing low blood sugar and liver damage. So, make sure to check the ingredient list before giving anything to your pet.
How to choose the best toothbrush for dogs?
When selecting a toothbrush for your canine, pay attention to your pet's size and your experience level. It's crucial to get a product that's specifically designed for dogs.
The most appropriate toothbrush will have an angled head, or it will be double-headed. It also needs to have soft bristles and be gentle on your pup's gums and teeth. If you are new to this and need some time getting used to the whole routine, we suggest getting a finger brush.
Later on, when you feel more confident in your skills and have learned the ropes, you can switch to one of the options we mentioned above.
A double-headed toothbrush is great because it surrounds the tooth, allowing you to clean the front and back at the same time. Make sure that the toothbrush you choose has a long handle. That way, it will be easier to manoeuvre, especially if you are dealing with a restless dog.
Tips for brushing your dog's teeth
Choose the right time
Brushing their teeth when they are calm and relaxed is the best timing. You need to set up a routine and get your dog accustomed to daily tooth brushing. Keep in mind that regular dental hygiene can prevent plaque buildup, tooth decay, gum diseases, and painful infection.
Get in the right position
Your dog needs to feel comfortable. Don't hold them down or stand above them. Try kneeling or sitting instead. It will help your pup calm down. If they seem anxious or upset, try again later, don't do anything by force.
Prepare their gums
Test how willing is your pet to have their teeth cleaned by rubbing your finger across their gums. This will help them get used to friction and toothbrush.
Test the toothpaste
Apply some toothpaste to your finger and let your pup lick it. They need to feel the texture and flavour. If they don't like the taste, try a different brand.
Finally, when your pet feels comfortable enough with all the touching, it's time to use a toothbrush and teeth cleaner for dogs. Angle toothbrush at 45 degrees so you can reach the gum line and use circular motions to clean away plaque.
Don't forget about the reward
When you are done brushing, don't forget to reward your pet for their good behaviour. Give them their favourite treat.
Brushing your dog's teeth needs to be a positive experience and this job becomes more fun if you have the right tools. We hope these tips will help your pet have a dazzling smile. Tell us about your experience, we can’t wait to find out!