After I posted a video of Anmitsu on Instagram brushing her teeth, I received several questions about her routine! So we decided to write a little blog post!
Should you brush your dog's teeth? ABSOLUTELY!
Gingivitis and tartar, like for humans, can advance into another stage called periodontal disease or form dental abscess. This is extremely important because these infections can spread systemically into other major organs including liver, heart valve, and to the kidneys. In order to prevent bigger problems later on, we need to learn to keep a routine management of our pup's mouth. So get into the habit of looking into your dog's mouth...smell their breath, open their mouth, and see what looks normal. And when something changes, visit your vet and notify them of these changes.
I use a toothbrush specially made for dogs. It's angled slightly towards the teeth and gum line for optimal plaque removal. When I first started brushing, I would brush the back surface, leading Anmitsu to gag and develop PTSD. It turned out, I didn't need to worry about brushing the back. 98% of tartar is build on the outside surface of the teeth. The tongue will naturally clean and take care of the inside surface. So do NOT gag your dog.
Although the toothbrush kit comes with peanut butter flavored toothpaste, I have not used it. I'm not a big fan of the ingredients. Another dog mom suggested using coconut oil instead! Just...DO NOT USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE!
As for brushing, it's really simple. Brush gently back-and-forth on the outside surface. The keyword is gently. We do not want to hurt our pups. Light strokes. I am never gripping the toothbrush! If you keep this habit for your pup, your dog's teeth will remain pearly white. Yay!
If you are starting this habit now and your dog is older, I suggest making a trip to your dog's dentist first to remove some of the plague and tartar build-up. Then commit to brushing your dog's teeth daily...or every 2-3 days! I keep Anmitsu's toothbrush holder next to my own. It's a reminder that when I am done brushing my teeth, there is a little pup waiting for me to brush hers.