Luke asked: How can I clean my dog’s teeth at home? It costs $150 to have my dog’s teeth cleaned at the vet office. I would appreciate a viable “at-home” alternative showing me how to pull this off at home. I realize they put the dog to sleep at the vet office, but maybe there is a way to achieve the same results at home? It seems important to brush their teeth regularly and it’s just not cost effective to do this professionally each time.
Dog’s teeth can develop tartar build-up, plaque and cavities the same way that human teeth do. When you take your dog to the vet, they are able to scrape away any tartar and check for any problems. For dogs that have not had these cleanings done before, they can get very nervous and must be put to sleep for the procedure. As you brush your dog’s teeth at home, they will become more comfortable with having someone working on their teeth and will become more tolerant. As this continues, the office cleanings may be able to be completed while your dog is still awake, saving you lots of time and money. Brushing your dog’s teeth should become part of your routine. It is recommended that you clean your dog’s teeth at home at least twice a week. Here’s what to do to keep their teeth strong and healthy.
What You Will Need:
- Doggie toothpaste
- Toothbrush or washcloth or gauze to wrap around your finger
The Cleaning Process:
- Gather all of your supplies and prep as much as possible prior to starting. Choose whether you will be cleaning with a toothbrush, washcloth or gauze wrapped around your finger and apply a small amount of the doggie toothpaste to the tip.
- It is best to complete this cleaning when your dog is relaxed. If your dog is ready to play, it may be difficult to get him to sit still while you clean.
- Find a position that allows you to easily access your dog’s mouth/teeth.
- Gently lift the upper lip on one side and begin brushing in a circular motion. Refresh with more toothpaste as needed.
- As you are brushing and cleaning, ensure to clean the gum line (where the teeth meet the gums) because this is where many problems start.
- Work your way around the mouth brushing each tooth. Use care to thoroughly clean the back teeth as this is where many problems can occur as well.
- When all of the top teeth are cleaned, continue with the same procedure to clean the bottom teeth.
- Complete this cleaning twice a week and visit your veterinarian once a year for a professional cleaning.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Did you know that your pet’s “dog breath” does not always have to be bad. In fact, if your dog has bad breath, it can be a sign of a problem with their teeth.
- If your dog will not tolerate the toothbrush, try a nubby-surfaced rubber cap. These are like rubber toothbrushes that you place on the top of your finger and provide a gentler cleaning than bristled brushes. It also gives you a good feel of where you’re brushing since it’s right on your fingertip.
- Only use dental products designed specifically for dogs. Do not use human toothpaste for your dog as it is not designed to be swallowed and dogs cannot spit. Anything that you use to clean their teeth will be swallowed, so ensure it’s made for them.
- Feed your dog hard dog biscuits or hard dog food each day and a hard bone or toy to chew on to keep their teeth strong.
- It may be helpful to have another person around to help you when you are cleaning your dog’s teeth for the first few times, even if it’s just to help keep your dog calm during the process.
- When in doubt, always seek the advice of a veterinarian. Ask them to walk you through the cleaning process to ensure that you are getting all the important spots.