Dental disease is very common in dogs, second only to ear infections, and can be extremely uncomfortable – much as it would be for us. Checking and cleaning your dog’s teeth should be part of their regular grooming routine.
Most dogs dislike having their teeth brushed but starting a routine while they are still young will help you both.
Gain their confidence slowly
It is a good idea to let them get used to the taste of toothpaste before brushing. They should lick it off your finger to start with, and then off the brush you are going to use.
Once accustomed to the taste of their toothpaste and the sight of the brush, it won’t be such a shock when you first brush their teeth properly.
Brush and paste
You could use a ‘finger brush’ when your dog is young, as this type is soft and small, giving you more control when brushing. A normal child’s toothbrush is suitable too but you are likely to need something larger as they grow.
Toothpaste must be specifically formulated for dogs though – human toothpaste is not suitable.
The signs of teeth and gum problems in your pet are just the same as in humans. Bleeding gums, bad breath, deposits or flinching when brushing are all indications that something more needs to be done. You can’t do this yourself, though, and must see a vet for treatment and ongoing care advice.