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Woof Wednesday: How To Brush Puppy Teeth

Chewing is my passion

Special dental chews can help with tooth care.

Pungent pet breath goes beyond offending houseguests; it signals the beginning of dental disease that’s not only painful, but can cut short your pet’s life. February is National Pet Dental Health Month so it’s the perfect time to “brush up” on recognizing and preventing tooth trouble.

Eighty percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats develop dental problems (periodontal disease) by the age of three. Pets don’t brush their teeth, so bacteria grow in left-behind food, mineralize, and forms plaque. The bacteria also release enzymes that cause receding gums that loosen teeth, and redness and swelling (gingivitis). If that’s not enough, chewing pumps bacteria into the bloodstream through the raw gums. That damages your pet’s heart, liver and kidneys.

There are many products out there for dogs to help keep those teeth pearly white. But the absolutely best way to prevent dental issues is to GASP! brush your dog’s teeth.

I can see y’all quivering in your socks at the thought. But it really isn’t all that difficult. I’ve just posted a step-by-step how-to in this article on how to brush puppy teeth (it works for adult dogs, too). You’ll also want to take a look at the video, below, from my friend Dr. Jim Humphries.

Do you brush your dog’s teeth? Does he have breath that’d knock over a moose? How do you manage Poochie’s dental care? Please share!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!  NOTE: the Pet Peeves newsletter will have a special VALENTINE’S DAY ISSUE you won’t want to miss!

About amyshojai

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified animal behavior consultant (dogs/cats), award winning author of 30+ pet care titles and thrillers, and spokesperson to the pet industry.

14 responses »

  1. Yes, but it really helps to start when they’re PUPPIES. 🙂

    p.s. I put this on StumbleUpon but had to do everything manually because you are not yet in Triberr!! Did you set up your feed? (Add “/feed/” to the end of your URL in the RSS/blog settings.)

  2. I have Amy in my Triberr stream… weird.

    My dogs aren’t very fond of me brushing their teeth, but then again, they don’t like being knocked out for special cleanings. We compromise with teeth brushing followed by a game of ball.

  3. I didn’t start with Tess as a puppy and now it’s a requirement. Lucky for me, she’s used to my handling her and she listens incredibly well so I either use the finger toothbrush or a damn face clothes to clean her teeth.
    After I had her groomed a week or so ago, the groomer highly recommended: so I’ve been trying it. So far, it seems to work well. Do you have any feedback on the product.
    This is something I wish I would have done from day 1 so we didn’t get to the point where she had such plaque build-up! Great article Amy!

  4. I scheduled this to tweet later today. Brushing your dog’s teeth is *so* important, especially if you have a little dog. I’ve read something to the effect that smaller dogs mouths have too many teeth in them, which causes faster tooth decay.

    I started brushing Cosmo the Pomeranian’s teeth when he was 9 weeks old. We do this every day, and he really doesn’t seem to mind. I think he thinks the paste is some sort of treat for him.

    So far, we’ve used the petrodex brand of pet toothpaste. Last time I was at the petsmart to buy toothpaste, though, all the petrodex was on clearance. I hope they are not discontinuing the brand. I would be worried that a new brand would give him diarrhea since he does ingest it.

    Thanks for posting this, Amy.

    • Hi Catie, You’re absolutely right about the Toy dogs. They have the same number of teeth (sometimes nearly the same size!) as the big dogs but packed into a smaller space so the mouth gets very crowded. The little guys do tend to have a greater incidence of dental problems. Yorkies are notorious!

      I like the petrodex brands, too. As far as I know they’re still making it.

  5. Such important advice and something many people just don’t know! Brush on!

  6. such good advice, our poor Kona had to have six teeth pulled a couple years ago. Sigh. Wish I’d known this sooner.

  7. Hello Amyshojai,
    In addition to your post I was wondering, Just wanted to post a little note to let you know how much I enjoy your site. It’s nice to see a quality dog resource for us canine lovers. Keep up the grrrrr-eat work!

    Keep up the posts!
    Debbie Moore – webmaster for Dogs and Puppies Central – a site all about responsible dog ownership.


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