How to Brush a Dog's Teeth

Start your dog on a healthy dental regimen with help from this step-by-step slide show.

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You know you should. You mean to do it. But maybe the reason you haven’t been brushing your dog’s teeth is because you just aren’t sure how. Well, break out your brushes and liver-flavored doggie toothpaste. It’s time to stop procrastinating and start brushing!

Step one: Gather your supplies. You’ll need a toothbrush (any style) and toothpaste made for dogs.

Step two: For several days in a row, call your dog, praise and pet him. Let him sniff the brush and lick some of the paste off your finger.

Step three: Next, put some paste on the toothbrush and let your dog lick the paste off the brush. As he is licking, touch the brush to his teeth. Do this for at least a week.

Step four: Hold your dog’s muzzle lightly with one hand, lifting up one side of his lips with your fingers near the corner of his mouth. Hold the brush in your other hand.

Step five: Brush the outside surfaces of the back teeth, using an up-and-down or circular motion. Do just one side for a week.

Step six: Repeat on the other side for another seven days.

Step seven: Lift up the lips in the front of your dog’s mouth and brush the outside surfaces of the canine and front teeth. Keep praising and petting your dog as you go.

Step eight: For dogs who strongly resist brushing, or for added protection, try an enzyme mouth spray or rub-on gel product.

Step nine: Finish with a big reward — praise and a dental or fresh-breath treat work well.

Step ten: Repeat daily. Yes, daily! Veterinary dentists say that’s best. Your dog will soon get used to the new brushing routine. And so will you!

For more information on how to protect your dog’s oral health, click here.


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DogChannel Web Editor   Mission Viejo, CA

2/21/2012 7:44:58 AM

Just as is the case with people, it is important to brush every day but brushing alone is not enough. To keep teeth and gums healthy please also get a dental checkup and cleaning at least yearly at your veterinary office.

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colleen   berwyn, IL

7/12/2011 1:11:58 PM

I have brushed my 4 yr old aussie's teeth every day without fail for most of her life. She won't let me near the small front teeth, but the rest get a good scrub. Regardless of this, her back teeth are much browner than other dogs her age who don't brush. This is very frustrating for me. Without resorting to chemicals, is there a way to whiten?

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Julie   Trumbull, CT

5/24/2011 6:07:12 PM

I would start by calling your dog over and just touching her head.Reward and repeat.Next touch her head longer.Reward and repeat. Next hold gently.R&R. Hold harder and longer every time until you can hold her muzzle and she's fine. Warning: May take awhile.

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Kris   Oconomowoc, WI

4/19/2011 6:08:54 PM

I've been working on this within the last couple weeks. My dog will lick toothpaste off my finger and let me put my finger in her mouth. She will not let me hold her muzzle, and if I try, she will step away and not come near me. Any suggestions?

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