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How to clean your dog’s teeth

Adult dogs have 10 more teeth than humans do, so with 42 permanent teeth, these gnashers are key to a healthy mouth so it’s important to look after them. Getting your dog to let you take care of their teeth is another story. Here are some top tips on how to clean your dog’s pearly whites.

What you need before you start

  • A toothbrush that’s the right size for your dog’s teeth and alignment.
  • Toothpaste suitable for dogs, don’t be tempted to use human toothpaste as this can be harmful to dogs.
  • A relaxed and calming environment so that your dog can feel at ease.

How to brush your dog’s teeth

Start early – if you have a pup, then start brushing their teeth as soon as you can. If you have an older dog, you can still establish a routine and they’ll soon get used to having their teeth brushed.

Short and slow

Keeping your brushing sessions short will help ensure your dog stays interested and cooperative. If it goes on for too long, they’re less likely to accept it.

A little bit at a time

It’s a good idea to increase the brushing gradually as this will help them get used to a new routine. Then, once your dog is comfortable you should be able to brush all their teeth in one session.

Reward good behaviour

Praise and edible treats can make good rewards for good behaviour while you invade their mouth. This will help positively reinforce the whole brushing process.

How to clean your dog’s teeth

Consider the vets

If brushing your dog’s teeth is a no go, then speak to your vet. They can provide information about oral gels, dental diets, and can even provide a dental check if an appointment is needed.

Other alternatives

While not as effective as brushing your dog’s teeth, certain alternatives can help keep your pup’s teeth healthy..:

  • offering fruit and vegetables as snacks can help scrape food off their teeth but won’t be effective against established plaque
  • certain toys are designed to clean your dog’s teeth
  • edible dental treats claim to be effective at reducing plaque and tartar, but the jury is still out on whether some of the ingredients are harmful or toxic in larger quantities

While these alternatives appear much more convenient than cleaning your dog’s teeth by hand, brushing is still the most effective method and keeps the owner in control of the cleaning regime to ensure it effectively removes all build-up.


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