When it comes to brushing a dog’s teeth, many people feel intimidated by the process. It can be scary if you think too much about it – all of those sharp teeth – and how do you know if you’re brushing them correctly?
Some dog owners might think that dogs don’t need their teeth brushed if they give them rawhide chews, toys made for chewing, or bones that promise to keep their dog’s teeth clean and tartar free.
However, you should never rely on dog toys and treats alone to keep your dog’s teeth and mouth healthy. After all, you don’t rely solely chewing gum that promises a healthy mouth, right? You brush and floss on a regular basis, as well as see your dentist. Your dog deserves the same treatment.
What do I need to my dog’s teeth?
To get started you will need a special toothbrush for dogs (yes, they come in different varieties, so keep that in mind when selecting the correct one for your dog – such as brushes with dual heads, and even small finger brushes for puppies and older dogs), and specially formulated toothpaste for your companion.
These toothpastes come in many flavors – such as peanut butter or chicken. Just be sure to never use a toothpaste for humans, because the chemicals in the toothpaste can really hurt your dog’s stomach.
Let’s get brushing those teeth….
Once you have the necessary materials, it’s time to get brushing! Make sure you pick a time when your dog is nice and relaxed – don’t choose a time when he or she is hyper. Next, make sure that you don’t frighten your dog or make him or her feel threatened – instead of standing over your pet, be sure to sit next to him or her so that they feel relaxed about what’s happening. Getting your dog comfortable is important here – try gently touching your dog’s gums to see how he or she will feel about you touching the inside of the mouth. If they aren’t happy about it, try again later. If they don’t seem to mind, you can offer them a taste of the toothpaste to make sure that the dog likes it before using it to brush their teeth.
Next, it’s time to introduce your dog to the toothbrush! Put some toothpaste on the brush and put it next to your dog’s teeth, near the gum line. Start using a circular motion (gently!) to brush around the teeth and gums, focusing on tartar and plaque buildup. If your dog isn’t interesting in a teeth cleaning at the time, try only working on a few teeth at once – and do a few sets per day, if that’s what it takes! Make sure you speak to your German Shepherd in a relaxed, soothing voice throughout the brushing, as this helps keep your dog calm.
Don’t forget to reward your dog for good behavior!
After you finish brushing the teeth, be sure to reward your dog! Give him or her plenty of attention, and even a treat (you can definitely use one of those special chews for cleaning teeth!) to make sure everyone has a positive experience.
How often should I brush my dog’s teeth?
While you should aim to brush your dog’s teeth at least once a week, you can feel free to work on their teeth a few at a time every day, depending on your dog’s tolerance. Also, remember to speak to your veterinarian and schedule professional teeth cleanings on a regular basis to keep your dog’s mouth healthy!