Tip of the Day: How to Check Your Dog's Teeth

How to Check Your Dog's Teeth

ByABC News via logo
March 18, 2011, 2:12 PM

March 23, 2011 — -- A good dental care program for your dog includes:

• Regular visits to your veterinarian, which include an oral exam

• Veterinary dental cleaning as advised

• Daily home dental care

How to Brush Your Dog's Teeth

1. First, use toothpaste that is specifically designed for dogs. Human toothpastes contain fluoride and detergents that are not designed to be swallowed. These ingredients can make your dog sick if he ingests them. Then, have your dog get used to the taste of the toothpaste. Let your dog lick some off your finger. Praise your dog when he licks the paste and give a reward (really tasty treat). If your dog does not like the taste of the toothpaste, you may need to try a different kind. Continue this step for a few days or until your dog looks forward to licking the paste.

2. The next step is to have your dog become comfortable with having something placed against his teeth and gums. Apply a small amount of paste to your finger and gently rub it on one of the large canine teeth in the front of the mouth. Be sure to praise your dog and give a tasty treat or other special reward (e.g., playing ball).

3. Then, get him used to the toothbrush or dental sponge you will be using routinely. Let your dog lick the toothpaste off of the brush so he gets used to the texture. Again, praise your dog when he licks the paste and give a really great treat or other reward . Continue this step for about a week, making sure your dog readily licks the paste off of the brush.

4. So the next step is to start brushing. Lift the upper lip gently and place the brush at a 45º angle to the gumline. Gently move the brush back and forth. You do not need to brush the inside surface of the teeth (the side towards the tongue). The movement of the tongue over the inside surfaces keeps them relatively free of plaque. Be sure to praise your dog, end on a good note and give a tasty treat or other great reward.

5. When your dog accepts having several teeth brushed, slowly increase the number of teeth you are brushing. Again, by making it appear to be a game, you both will have fun doing it.