How to Brush a Puppy's Teeth

Medium
10 - 15 Minutes
1 Day

Introduction

Starting to brush your pup's teeth between the ages of eight and sixteen weeks is vital to the health of his teeth and starting out this early will make it much easier for him to get used to this daily activity. That’s right, you should be brushing your pup's teeth every day before bedtime, just like you do your own. Failure to do so may not result in cavities, but dogs can get potentially serious gum disease without proper dental care. It is up to you to prevent this from happening--your dog cannot brush his own teeth!

Dog's Perspective

Chances are pretty good that your puppy has no concept of bad breath. Even he did, he probably wouldn’t care. The only time he might think about his mouth is if it starts to hurt when he chews or is painful all the time. The earlier you start working with him and a toothbrush, the less fuss he is likely to put up over time.

The Here, Try This Method

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Toothbrush
Step
1
Time to go shopping
Before you can start brushing your pup's teeth, you need to hit your favorite pet shop. You will need a puppy toothbrush and a tube of vet-approved canine toothpaste.
Step
2
No human stuff, please
Sure, it can be tempting to grab that toothpaste tube from the medicine cabinet, but there are far too many toxic substances in human products that can harm or kill your pup.
Step
3
Taste test time
There are many different flavors of doggy toothpaste to choose from. It may take you several attempts before you find one your pup loves. Finding this one flavor will make the task far easier, as your pup will think he is getting a treat.
Step
4
Lift his lips
Using one hand, gently lift his upper lip so you can get to his teeth and gums. Start by brushing his molars inside and out cover both sides top and bottom.
Step
5
The rest
Brush his front teeth and then go in deep, so you get those rear molars that can be so hard to reach. You should be doing this every day while also making sure he has plenty of dental chews to help keep his gums and teeth nice and healthy.
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The Step-by-Step Method

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Toothbrush
Step
1
Find the right time and place
Find a nice quiet spot in your house for this task when your pup is tired and less likely to fuss. Try to do this at the same time every day as most dogs like a nice routine.
Step
2
Have everything nearby
Gather up the toothpaste, toothbrush, and a dental treat close at hand. Then sit down with your pup and get him to calm down and relax. Keep in mind this is new to him too.
Step
3
Prepare the toothbrush
Squeeze a small amount of dog-safe toothpaste on his toothbrush and lift back his upper lip on one side.
Step
4
Gently clean
Using the other hand, gently brush his teeth inside and out, front to back and his gums as well. Use circular motions and brush each tooth for about 5 seconds.
Step
5
When you are all done
When your pup's teeth are pearly white, and his breath smells fresh, praise him and give him the dental treat as a reward.
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Caution & Considerations

  • If you don't remember a single thing beyond this, remember that at no time should you ever use toothpaste made for humans on your dog. The fluoride and many other chemicals in common toothpastes are very toxic to your pup and could kill him.
  • Always use a toothbrush designed to be used on dogs, the head on one made for humans has the wrong angle.
  • Go slowly, make sure you get each tooth thoroughly cleaned. Be gentle, as you don't want to damage his gums.
  • Make sure you take your pup to the vet for a full dental cleaning and checkup at least once a year.
  • Make sure you brush your pup's teeth every day to keep his gums healthy and his breath fresh. 

Conclusion

The sooner you start brushing your pup's teeth, the easier it will be to get him used to it. This is simply because young pups have not learned to object--they are far more accepting of new things. Keep your pup's teeth brushed on a daily basis, preferably at the same time every day. While he may not be able to get cavities, he can still lose his teeth to gum disease. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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