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How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Posted on: January 5th, 2011 by


Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a practicing veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. I’d like to talk to you today about the importance of dental health and the proper way to brush your dog’s teeth.

Did you know that infected teeth can not only be painful, but a source of bacterial infection for the rest of the body? Bacteria can actually gain access to the bloodstream and travel to the liver or even the valves of the heart.

Keeping your dog’s mouth healthy is an important job of their overall health. Brushing the teeth might be a two-person job; someone to hold or comfort the dog while the other person uses the toothbrush. You’ll want to use a toothbrush that has a small head, or if you have a larger dog, an old toothbrush of yours should be fine. Be sure to use a special canine-formulated dog toothpaste as fluoride can be toxic to dogs.

You’ll want to aim the toothbrush along the top of the gum line and try not to neglect the molars and using a gentle motion on both sides. What that will do is help eliminate plaque which turns into tartar.

Brushing your dog’s teeth can be a challenge, but if you start young as puppies, typically they’ll get used to it, especially if you make it fun. Try shorter periods of time more frequently. The average dog should probably have their teeth brushed every day and we understand that most people don’t have the time to do that, but if you could go for at least once a week or even once a month, it’s better than nothing at all.

If you’ve got concerns about your dog’s breath or you’re seeing changes along the gum or with the teeth, contact your veterinarian. I’m Dr. Caldwell, and that’s how you brush teeth.
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