Dental care is an important component of dogs' overall health care. However, many dog parents find it challenging. Getting a toothbrush into a dog's mouth, especially if they don't enjoy having their mouths touched, is difficult.
According to Melissa Zangerle, VCA licensed veterinary technician and regional technician director, the best way to brush a dog's teeth is to use canine toothpaste (never human toothpaste) and brush both the top and bottom surfaces of each tooth. However, if that isn't possible, as long as you use dog toothpaste consistently, with or without a toothbrush, it will still benefit their teeth.
"The biggest tip is training them to become more used to having their teeth brushed, with the hope they eventually even enjoy it," says Melissa. "The younger you can start this positive association, the better. This way they become used to having their mouths touched and played with."
Although brushing is the best dental care for dogs, it isn't always possible. Thankfully, there are a variety of helpful alternatives that promote good dental hygiene without needing brushing. These alternatives include water additives, sprays, dental wipes, treats, and even diets that support excellent dental health.
Establishing a consistent routine at home, aside from the yearly dental cleaning by a veterinarian, can help dogs enjoy getting their teeth cleaned. If you have trouble cleaning your dog's teeth, you may consider trying different alternatives to brushing.