How to Groom a Small Dog's Teeth

Medium
15 - 20 Minutes
1 Day

Introduction

Young or old, big or small, no dog should ever go without proper dental care. There is nothing quite like having your dog start licking your face and filling your nostrils with something akin to "road kill" breath. What you may not realize, is that your dog's teeth and gums need to be brushed just as frequently as yours do. Well at least once a day in order to keep his teeth and gums clean. Just because your pup won't get cavities, does not mean he can't get gum disease. Good oral hygiene can help reduce the risk of gum disease and your pup losing his teeth. 

Dog's Perspective

Let's face it, your small dog could care less what his breath smells like and really doesn’t worry about what his teeth look like. The only time he ever worries about his teeth and gums is in the event that they cause him pain. Getting your pup used to having his teeth brushed as early as possible. The sooner you start, the better the odds are that your pup will simply grow up having his teeth brushed and will let you do it without fussing. 

The Mouth Meet Toothpaste Method

Effective
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Step
1
Time to go shopping
The first thing you need to do is go to your local pet supply store and pick up a tube of vet-approved canine toothpaste. They come in a number of flavors such as beef, chicken, lamb, and salmon. At the same time, pick up a canine toothbrush sized correctly for your small dog--they are angled differently to those made for humans.
Step
2
No time for humans
This is no time for you to think you can get away with "cheaping" out and using your toothpaste. Most human toothpastes contain fluoride that is highly toxic to your dog and can make him very sick or worse.
Step
3
Time for the taste test
Place a small amount of the toothpaste on the tip of a finger and let your pup smell it and then lick it off your finger. Repeat this a few times to let him get used to the taste, there is nothing in it that will hurt your pup. Repeat this using the toothbrush, this will help him get used to both.
Step
4
Lip lift time
Gently lift your pup's upper lip so that you can access his teeth and gums. Gently brush them both very thoroughly inside and out. Don't forget the molars way in the back.
Step
5
To the last tooth
Once you have brushed all of his teeth and gums, give him a healthy dental stick type treat and give him plenty of praise. Do this every day just like you would your own.
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The Start 'Em Young Method

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Step
1
Spend a little cash first
Before you can start taking care of your pup's teeth, you have to spend a little money. You will need toothpaste and a toothbrush made just for dogs, never, ever use products made for people as they contain fluoride and other chemicals that can be hazardous to your pup's health.
Step
2
Start early
You can start working on brushing your pup's teeth at the same time he makes the transition to eating solid food. Not only does this get his teeth off to a good start, it gets him used to having his teeth brushed at a very early age--before he has a chance to think he might not like it.
Step
3
A tired dog
Have you ever noticed how much easier your pup is to deal with when he is tired? Take this to heart and take your pup for a nice long walk right before you get ready to brush his teeth. This will tire him out and calm him down, making it much easier for you to get the job done.
Step
4
Slow and steady
Put some toothpaste on the toothbrush, let your pup smell it and then gently open his mouth and slowly start to brush his teeth. This will give him time to get used the idea of having his teeth brushed and the taste of the toothpaste. Brush all of his teeth, inside and out, and especially the rear-most molars that can be hard to reach.
Step
5
Repeat daily
Brush your dog's teeth daily and be sure to take him in to see his vet for an annual cleaning and exam. With this type of care, your pup's mouth will be a much happier place that is free of gum disease or foul odors.
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Caution & Considerations

  • It cannot be said enough that you should never use any type of toothpaste or oral care product intended to be used by humans. They contain fluoride that can be deadly to dogs and a number of other ingredients known to be harmful to dogs.
  • Never use a human toothbrush as the head is not angled correctly, which means you may end up missing parts of his teeth and areas of his gums.
  • Always take your time and use the brush gently. There is no need to scrub hard, all this will do is injure your pup's gums.
  • Being rough can also make your pup more nervous and reluctant to have his teeth brushed in the future.
  • If his teeth are so discolored they won't come clean with a gentle brushing, you may be better off taking your little dog to the vet for a professional cleaning.
  • You should take your pup in to see his vet once a year for a thorough dental exam and cleaning. This gives your vet a chance to catch problems early.
  • Make sure you brush your pup's teeth every day to ensure he reaches old age with all his teeth intact. After no one wants their dog to have dentures. 

Conclusion

The good news is that once your pup has become used to having his teeth brushed, you should be able to get the whole job done in no more than a few minutes. If you have an older dog who has not had his teeth brushed regularly, be sure to have the vet check his teeth and gums over first to make sure they are healthy. Then you can get on with taking care of his teeth and enjoying those pretty pearly whites and fresh breath. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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