How Do I Brush My Pet's Teeth?

dog brushing teeth

If you’re asking ‘how do I brush my pet’s teeth,’ you are one of the devoted pet parents who is taking responsibility where it’s often needed the most – pet dental care. Not everyone takes this initiative, however, and unfortunately, their pet often suffers the consequences of dental disease. Brushing teeth is one of a few things that you can do as part of a well-rounded whole health plan for your pet. To make sure you have this part down, let’s take a look at how you can begin brushing your pet’s teeth!

Begin With The Basics

The best way to get your pet used to the process of brushing teeth is by starting the process early in their life. This helps to develop behavioral expectations right from the beginning. If you cannot start early but are still determined to give your pet the best oral care you can, begin where you are.

The process is the same whether you’re starting from puppyhood or a six-year-old adult. Brushing begins by getting your pet acquainted with the handling process, the brush, the toothpaste, and the sensation of teeth brushing. Step one is establishing your touch. If you have a fairly active and energetic pet, try tuckering her out with some exercise first. Sit comfortably beside or in front of your pup and begin petting the sides of her mouth. Lift the skin and bare the teeth a bit. Once she’s used to this kind of handling, you can try the next step.

Developing Familiarity With The Tools

Get a special toothbrush and toothpaste just for dogs. Now that your pup is used to your new handling process introduce a pea-sized bit of toothpaste to her. Put a small bit on the end of your finger and let her smell and taste it. Does she like it? If so, great. If not, try another flavor until she does. Now show her the toothbrush. Let her smell it and mouth it a bit.

Now that your pet has seen, smelled, and tasted the new tools and products, it’s time to put them together. Start by placing a small amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush. Now lift the skin and show the teeth. Applying only light pressure, begin making small stroking actions on the canines. These are easier to access than molars and will get her used to the sensation. Once she is used to this process (and it may take a few days, a week, or maybe more), you can begin brushing the outer and inner sides.

The Daily Brushing Routine

Once you’ve established the basics and your pup is used to the sensation of the toothbrush, now you can begin a daily routine. It’s best if you set aside about 15-minutes per pet for this task. It’s also a good idea to establish a time that you regularly brush. This helps to get into a flow that both you and your pet are used to making it part of a regular lifestyle – just like bathing, exercising, and feeding.

A point of caution to keep in mind is to be aware of the condition of the oral cavity. If there is any bleeding, mouth pain, or signs of problems, stop brushing until you see the vet. It’s important that you get a professional dental cleaning done before you continue.

A Full-Spectrum Approach

As mentioned above, pet dental care is part of a well-rounded care plan. A full-spectrum approach is needed to ensure your pet has not only great teeth but overall great health. A full-spectrum approach to caring for your pet includes:

  • Whole-food nutrition

  • Daily exercise

  • Yearly professional wellness visits

  • Yearly dental cleanings

  • An at-home dental care routine

  • Pet-friendly chew toys, raw bone, or antler

  • Lots of affection

When you can adopt a care plan that includes all of these factors, you are setting up your pet for long-term health and wellness.

Final Thoughts

Thank you for asking ‘how do I brush my pet’s teeth.’ As part of a well-rounded care plan, it’s one of the best things you can do to provide an excellent quality of life for your pet. Dental disease is a major problem that affects 80% of dogs over the age of three – a statistic you don’t want your dog to contribute to increasing. It’s painful, life-threatening, and costly to fix once late-stage symptoms are occurring. On the lighter side, establishing a tooth brushing routine can be a fun way to spend some quality time with your pet every day – something they will certainly enjoy! Give us a call today if you would like us to have a look at your pet’s oral health. It can make all the difference in the long run! Remember, we are always here to help.

Providing the very best in veterinary care, and the ability to establish innovated programs.


Parkland Animal Clinic & Big Bear Pet Lodge​​​​​​​
8017 N. University Dr
Parkland, FL 33067

Fax: 954-757-3990