Most people don’t brush their dog’s teeth.
Why? Because most dogs don’t like it all that much. Start small and see if you can train them using treats or bits of their food to let you brush a little more.
It’s the habit that is important, not if you do it perfectly every time. How often should you brush their teeth? Well, I think we all know the answer to that.
Everyday is ideal, just like a person. Plaque and tartar work the same way in dogs as they do in people. The less plaque and tartar you have, the longer your teeth will last.
I get a lot of questions about what kind of toothbrush and paste to use. A kid’s toothbrush from the grocery store works well and water is fine to start.
If you want to use the meat flavored dog toothpaste, go for it. Human paste with fluoride is not ideal because dogs don’t spit the paste out and they aren’t always crazy about the taste. The most important thing is just getting the brushing in any way you can rather than postponing until you have the perfect brush and paste.
Getting your pet’s teeth cleaned by your veterinary professional almost always involves full anesthesia because they won’t open up for long enough to get the tartar scraped off like people do.
The more work you put in at home, the less time they will spend under anesthesia for dental work during their lifetime. Some pets are born with a better set of choppers that are less prone to infection and plaque build-up, but whatever you are born with, brushing helps.
As an owner, it is important to accept that your pet is likely to need professional cleanings involving anesthesia throughout their life, just like you need professional cleanings.