Any dog owner eventually has to reckon with an inevitable chore: cleaning their dog’s teeth. But although most dogs try to scramble and squirm away when you get out their toothbrush, there are ways you can make oral care more enjoyable for your furry friend.
On top of that, you can alter your tooth brushing technique to make things easier for both you and your canine pal.
In this guide, we’ll go over how you can keep your dog’s teeth clean and the tools you should use to maximize their oral health over the long-term. Let’s dive in.
Does Your Dog Need Regular Teeth Cleaning?
It’s easy to think of our dog’s teeth as different from our own, especially since they don’t normally eat quite as many sugary treats as we do (guilty as charged). But the fact of the matter is that plaque still accrues over time, and your dog’s teeth are still susceptible to cavities and infection.
Because of these issues, it’s important to maintain a rigorous oral health routine with your pup, particularly as they grow into their adult sizes and start to really use their... canines.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the things you can use to keep your dog’s teeth clean over the long-term. There’s a bit more to it than just breaking out a regular toothbrush and scrubbing away!
Tools and Toys to Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Clean
When it comes to cleaning your dog’s teeth, you’ll have a lot more success if you use certain tools and treats to your advantage.
Dental Cleaning Pens
Here’s a great place to start: Dr. Brite’s Teeth and Gum Cleaning Pen. Unlike a regular toothbrush, it takes into account the tendency for dogs to squirm and struggle if you try to brush their teeth like you would your own. Since it’s a gel pen, all you have to do is lightly brush the pen over the surface of your dog’s teeth and gums and they’ll get all the benefits.
What are those benefits? Removed plaque build up and soothed gums, leading to overall better dental health. All of these benefits are thanks to the excellent natural ingredients in the gel pen, including bioflavonoids, grape seed extract, organic coconut oil, non-acidic vitamin C, and cellulose gum. Suffice it to say that your dog won’t find this pen to be difficult or uncomfortable in the slightest.
No, we don’t mean use a spare human toothbrush that you just have lying around! There are plenty of dog-specific toothbrushes on the market that either look similar to the human equivalent or can fit on your finger for easier brushing.
However, we actually don’t recommend these because the bristles are often a little too hard for dog’s gums, and can actually cause recession or inflammation. This is one of the whole reasons we developed our soft-tip, silicone bristle oral cleaning pen!
An oral spray is another good choice, especially if your dog already has sensitive gums due to gingivitis, or hates sitting in your lap while you take care of their teeth. Dr. Brite’s Oral Spray is a perfect example of this type of product, using many of the same natural ingredients found in the gel pen mentioned before, along with a few unique elements for breath freshening.
For instance, it contains parsley for fresh breath while including green algae to help reduce plaque. Using this oral spray is a great way to boost your dog's general oral health without making them feel uncomfortable. Just expose your dog’s teeth and gums, then point and spray!
Try to find some dental chew toys on the market if you want to mix oral care and play for a particularly rambunctious puppy. Dental chew toys are usually rubberized or similar textured toys that your dog can chew on, but they have special surfaces like grooves or raised sections that can scrape away plaque and bacteria as your dog goes to town.
It’s a great way to trick your dog into taking better care of their teeth, and it’s a perfect choice for puppies that would rather bounce around having fun than sit patiently in your lap while you take care of their teeth.
Oral Care Treats
Maybe your dog has a sweet tooth? Try getting them oral care treats, like milk bones. These are great alternatives to traditional dental care that have special vitamins that can bolster your dog’s enamel and general tooth strength while also giving them something to munch on if they are bored or want a treat in the middle of a game.
You can’t go too overboard with giving them treats, of course, or you’ll defeat the purpose. But this is still a good pick for dogs that are particularly difficult when it comes time to give their teeth a good brushing.
With all of these tools and toys, make sure to ask your veterinarian what they think would be best for your dog based on their dental history and gum sensitivity. They may be able to recommend additional oral care tips or help you find a perfect tooth cleaning solution for your pup.
How to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth
Knowing all the different tools and toys you can use is one thing. It’s quite another to sit down and clean your dog’s teeth. Unlike us, dogs are easily spooked by the wrong posture and can feel really uncomfortable when someone is poking around in their mouths. Actually, we also feel uncomfortable when we head to the dentist… so maybe our dogs aren’t so different!
Regardless, here’s how you should clean your dog’s teeth to make them feel as comfortable as possible.
- Begin by positioning yourself in a nonthreatening way. Kneel or sit down and try not to appear too big or aggressive to your dog. It’s also a good idea to try to clean their teeth in an open area so they don’t feel crowded or restrained
- Rub your finger along their teeth and gums to get them used to the sensation. Don’t rush headlong into cleaning their teeth roughly or they’ll feel too uncomfortable and may snap at you
- As you clean, don’t apply too much pressure. The plaque will come off over time as you clean back and forth, not if you use all of your strength to scrape it off in a few runs
Then just carefully go along your dog’s teeth and clean them thoroughly. Be sure to get the back teeth and behind the front teeth, closer to the tongue, to make sure your dog doesn’t get any cavities in the future!
Ultimately, taking care of your dog’s teeth is one of the best ways you can show your pup that you love and appreciate them, even if they don’t fully understand it. But you’ll certainly be happier when you don’t have an expensive dog dental bill and when your dog keeps flashing its happy smile.
Let us know if you have any questions!