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How Often Should You Brush Your Dog’s Teeth?

Posted by Mary Ida Young on
This question probably depends more on who you ask, but keep in mind that the more often you brush your dog’s teeth, the healthier his mouth will be. Think of how often you brush your own teeth, and how yucky your mouth feels when you don’t do it often enough. The inside of a dog’s mouth really isn’t that different from yours, and it’s susceptible to all the same health problems… bad breath, gingivitis, periodontal disease, cancers of the mouth, ulcers, and more. And if a dog’s mouth is unhealthy, it can affect the rest of his body, leading to things like liver disease, kidney disease, and heart disease. So how often should you brush your dog's teeth? 

A Few Fun Facts About Doggy Dental Health

Your dog has 42 teeth. Count ‘em, yes, 42! And it doesn’t matter their size, they still have the same number of pearly whites. Which means smaller breeds and pooches with small snouts suffer from ‘tooth crowding’. Consider tooth crowding a breeding ground for potential bacteria. Bacteria creates disease. Unfortunately, dogs that have poor dental hygiene are at high risk for gum disease. Gum disease occurs when bacteria-laden plaque proliferates, mixing with food and saliva to create tartar on your dog’s teeth. When that tartar is left there, it builds up and houses even more bacteria, creating a nasty cycle of bacterial growth and unhealthy mouth conditions for your dog. Finally, if you think your dog could never suffer from things like gum disease, think again. About 80% of all dogs suffer from some form of gum disease, whether it’s mild or severe. Typically signs of poor oral health begin to rear their stinky head around age three and up. Don’t worry though, there is plenty you can do to help keep your dog’s teeth healthy. Regular brushing happens to be one of them.

So How Often Should You Be Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth Anyway?

Ideally you should strive to brush your dog’s teeth daily. Not only is daily brushing good for your dog and the health of his teeth, but daily brushing helps establish a routine that he will become used to. When a dog gets used to a routine, it makes things much easier for everyone and much less stressful. If you don’t make it a routine and only brush your dog’s teeth sporadically, life becomes much harder for you both. You may find yourself fighting your dog because he is weirded out by the whole experience, and that makes it difficult to do a thorough job. If absolutely necessary, you could brush every 2 or 3 days. It’s still frequently enough that a routine can be established with your pet, and it can become an experience they submit to willingly. However, I would still recommend daily if it’s within your power to do so, simply because daily is brushing is good for anyone, including your pooch.

Tips to Make Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth Enjoyable… For Both of You

Track down a yummy peanut butter or chicken-flavored toothpaste made especially for dogs. Your furry friend will begin to think of brushing time like ‘treat time’ because it tastes so good. You can use the toothpaste on your finger at first to help ease him into the experience. Try to brush at a time when your dog is already relaxed. Right after a lazy nap could be ideal, or perhaps after vigorous exercise when your dog is about to conk out to recharge. Train your dog to accept your touch to his mouth. Again, this falls back on making it routine, but it takes practice. Flip his lips, run a finger along his gums, try wetting a warm wash cloth to rub along his teeth to get him used to the feeling. Talk to your pooch. Use a calm, soothing voice, and try not to get frustrated if he resists. Offer a tasty, healthy dental treat when he submits. Regular and frequent brushing will keep your dog’s mouth clean, healthy, and sparkling. Bonus points if you can coax a doggy smile from him!


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