Dental Care in Dogs: How to Take Care of Your Dog’s Teeth

Dogs have dental problems too. Whether gum inflammation or tooth loss – most dogs are not spared. In particular, smaller dogs and dog breeds with narrow teeth are increasingly affected by dental problems.

A dog has 42 teeth. In large dogs, these are in an optimal constellation to each other and are built relatively far apart. This serves to ensure that food residues can only settle with difficulty. If something does get caught, the tongue and lips will automatically free the teeth the next time you run fast. For smaller breeds, things are different. Since the snout is usually much shorter, the space between the teeth is also very narrow. Food residues get stuck more easily, which can lead to tartar, gingivitis, or even tooth loss if the necessary dental hygiene is lacking.

Inflammation of the periodontium ( periodontitis ) is one of the most common diseases in dogs. The disease usually begins at the age of two. In addition to the individual predisposition, the cause of periodontitis is the accumulation of bacterial plaque on the teeth. If the teeth are kept clean and free of deposits, periodontitis usually does not develop.

Regular dental care prevents plaque and tooth decay

Regular dental hygiene is a prerequisite for healthy teeth in both dogs and humans. This includes dental check-ups at the vet’s as well as regular brushing.

Even if it may seem strange to some dog owners to brush their dog’s teeth, gum diseases or costly tartar removal at the vet can be avoided in advance.

Getting used to brushing your teeth is a prerequisite for successful dental care for your dog. Therefore, puppies should get used to this grooming ritual right from the start. An adult dog or a dog that is not very docile should be introduced to brushing its teeth very slowly and gently; so he gets pleasantly used to the procedure.

Accessories for dental care in dogs

Special toothbrushes and toothpaste for dogs are suitable for cleaning your dog’s teeth. Under no circumstances should you use regular toothpaste, the essential oils it contains are not beneficial for the dog’s health. A good dog toothpaste should be good cleaning, tasty and harmless.

Opt for a dog toothbrush with soft bristles that not only brushes the outside of the teeth but also gets under the gums. There are two-headed toothbrushes with a large and a small brush head or double-headed toothbrushes on the market. Finger toothbrushes, i.e. finger stalls with rubber nubs on the outside, are also suitable for getting used to them.

Brushing your dog’s teeth – how it works!

For the dog to become familiar with the grooming ritual and the tools, you should only give it a little toothpaste to lick off for the first few days. Next, slowly introduce your dog to touching his gums and lips by gently lifting his lips and rubbing some toothpaste over his teeth with your finger. Always only reach as far into your dog’s mouth as he will allow!

In the next phase, the toothbrush is used. Put some toothpaste on the brush and lift the lips with a finger or two. Start with the front canines and always sweep the brush at a 45° angle from red (gums) to white (tooth) with a slight rotational motion. Do not touch the small front teeth (incisors) at this stage, as this is the most sensitive area.

In the beginning, keep the dental care sessions as short as possible – only about 2-3 minutes.

If cleaning the fangs works, try brushing all the outer teeth (first the fangs, then the molars, and finally the incisors) in this manner with the jaw closed. Once your dog has gotten used to brushing the outside of his teeth, you can try brushing the inside of his teeth as well. However, these are usually less affected by plaque.

Always end every dental care session – even in the initial phase – with a special tooth cleaning snack, lots of praise, and tender loving care so that the experience is remembered positively!

Dental care supplements

If a dog vehemently resists brushing its teeth, you should at least make sure that the dog chews a lot, be it on special toys, chewing strips, or chewing bones. Chewing also stimulates the flow of saliva, which also cleans the teeth. Special tooth-cleaning snacks can also be used as a preventive measure against tartar formation in dogs. If the tartar is already present, it should be removed by the veterinarian.

Ava Williams

Written by Ava Williams

Hello, I'm Ava! I have been writing professionally for just over 15 years. I specialize in writing informative blog posts, breed profiles, pet care product reviews, and pet health and care articles. Prior to and during my work as a writer, I spent about 12 years in the pet care industry. I have experience as a kennel supervisor and professional groomer. I also compete in dog sports with my own dogs. I also have cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

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