Trophy Pet Foods Blog

Dental Care Tips for Dogs

Cleaning your pet's teeth is an essential part of pet ownership. It is important to maintain healthy gums and teeth for your dog as good dental health ensures good overall health in the long term.

Your dog’s teeth have a lot of work to do. Dogs use their mouths for more than just eating; they use them to play, explore and taste a lot of their surroundings too.

If dog’s teeth are not regularly cleaned, the plaque will build up and turn into tartar and can lead to inflammation and tenderness which could mean your dog is in pain whist trying to eat. It can also go on to cause gingivitis and gum disease.

As with most things in life, prevention is better than cure. You can start by brushing your dog’s teeth daily with a special dog toothbrush and toothpaste (don’t use human toothpaste as this contains chemicals that can be toxic to dogs). Giving your dog dental chews and a suitable complete kibble food will also have some effect in reducing plaque.

How to brush your dog’s teeth

Start getting your dog comfortable with having their teeth cleaned from as early an age as possible so that they associate this experience with a positive reward. To begin the training, choose a time when your dog is comfortable and relaxed, take it slowly, keep sessions short and stop while your dog is still happy.

  • Stroke your dog’s cheek gently to get them used to your hand being by their mouth. You should aim to do this for the first two to three days before continuing to the next step
  • Introduce the toothpaste on your finger, allowing your dog to lick it off
  • After your dog has shown that they enjoy the toothpaste, start to run your finger along the inside of their mouth, following the gum line
  • If your dog is comfortable allowing you to do this then, after a few days, you can introduce the toothbrush, allowing your dog to lick the toothbrush with the dog toothpaste on, but don’t put the toothbrush in their mouth just yet
  • Once they’re comfortable with licking the toothbrush it’s time to start brushing the teeth. Start gently; targeting the front teeth first. Make gentle round motions, stopping regularly to allow them to lick the toothbrush (so they’re continuously rewarded)
  • Once your dog is happy to let you brush their front teeth and their canines, you can move onto the back teeth, repeating the stopping and starting process
  • After a couple of weeks you should be able to gently brush your dog’s teeth without any fuss. If you can, try to focus brushing where the teeth meet the gum line
  • Don’t despair if you have an older dog, it will take longer, but you can train them to accept tooth brushing over time

When cleaning your dog's teeth, keep the session short and always end on a positive note by giving your dog a reward such as a dental stick.

If your dog’s teeth look like they have a large build-up of plaque you should seek the advice of your vet as they may need professional attention.