How do I brush my dog's teeth?

Did you know that dogs over three-years-old have a significant chance of already having dental disease?

This is really bad news, as the impact can be extremely tough for our dogs to cope with. Poor dental health and gum disease are so common that the British Veterinary Dental Association states that most dogs over three have gum disease requiring treatment. According to The Royal Veterinary College, periodontal disease affects over 90% of adult dogs.

Should I brush my dog’s teeth?

Left untreated, gingivitis caused by plaque can lead to painful tooth loss. However, the great news is that by taking good care of your dog’s teeth and gums, you can drastically reduce their chances of suffering the pain and problems connected with dental and gum disease.

Can I brush my dog’s teeth?

Robin Hargreaves, Senior Veterinary Adviser at Agria Pet Insurance, explains:

“Our dogs should be with us into their teens, but the animals they evolved from didn’t live anything like to this age – and so their teeth are not designed for longevity. Left uncared for, the likelihood is that they will deteriorate, giving your dog gum disease and mouth and gum pain. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

“Encourage your dog to chew on something appropriate to use their teeth. Nothing too hard to break their teeth, and nothing that will break or splinter and get stuck in their mouth or digestive tract. Those on a soft diet can really benefit from something that involves properly using their teeth to help keep the surfaces clean.

“Also, something very important owners can do is to get into the habit of cleaning their dog’s teeth. Start as early as you can so it’s not scary for them and they get used to it from a young age, and always reward them afterwards. Cleaning dogs’ teeth is effective and helps to keep the tartar down – which otherwise traps food against the gums, erodes them back and causes infections.”

How often should I brush my dog’s teeth?

If possible, the very best time to start tooth brushing is when your dog is a puppy. Ideally you should brush your dog’s teeth twice a day, but if time doesn’t allow, then aiming for at least three times a week will really help and it will quickly become part of your dog’s routine.

How do I brush my dog’s teeth?

Find a quiet time and place to sit comfortably with your dog and begin by gently rubbing your finger or a cloth along the edge of their teeth where it meets the gums. Once your dog is comfortable with this you can move on to using toothpaste, and then using this toothpaste on a brush. Always give lots of praise throughout.

NEVER use human toothpaste with a dog. It is toxic and can be fatal. Always use toothpaste that's made specifically for dogs. 

Good dental hygiene plays a big part in overall health, so taking good care of your dog’s teeth is a great way to help keep your dog happy and healthy.

If you have an Agria Pet Insurance policy, you can access the free Pet Health Helpline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The veterinary-trained team will advise on any concerns or queries that you may have over your pet’s health – much like the NHS 111 service for people. Call free on 03333 32 19 47.