Three Mistakes You Shouldn't Make When Brushing Your Dog's Teeth

Posted on: 29 August 2016

Dogs can develop dental problems, just like people can. Cavities, gum disease, tooth loss, and more can affect dogs with poor oral health, so it's important to brush your dog's teeth. However, not brushing properly can also lead to problems. Here are three mistakes you shouldn't make when you're brushing your dog's teeth.

Using human toothpaste

Brushing your dog's teeth with the same toothpaste that you use may seem like a frugal solution, but human toothpaste isn't a good choice for dogs. This is because human toothpaste tends to contain fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that helps to strengthen teeth, and while it's useful for people, it's toxic for dogs.

In 1.5 milliliters of toothpaste—a thick stripe like you'd see in a toothpaste commercial—there's a whopping 2.25 milligrams of fluoride. Toxic effects can start at around 1 milligram per kilogram of your dog's body weight, so for a small dog, using human toothpaste even once can be dangerous. To keep your dog safe, choose a fluoride-free toothpaste that's meant for dogs. Plus, dog toothpastes come in dog-friendly flavors like beef or chicken, so they're tastier for them as well as safer.

Not starting early

Dogs have all of their baby teeth by the time they're about eight weeks old, and once these teeth appear, it's time to start brushing. Puppies learn fast, so you can train them to accept tooth brushing in a week or two. Once a dog gets older and more set in their ways, it will be harder to start a tooth brushing routine.

While starting early makes the training process easier, it also has health benefits. If you don't brush your dog's teeth until they're older, they could develop preventable dental problems like cavities or gum disease. If your dog is already older and you've never brushed their teeth, take them to a vet for a dental checkup and then start brushing.

Not brushing often enough

If you don't brush your dog's teeth on a regular basis, you're not alone. A whopping 95% of pet owners don't brush their dog's teeth regularly. While this is a common mistake, it's a problem for your dog because they could develop gum disease or other health problems due to their poor oral hygiene.

Ideally, you should brush your dog's teeth once per day. It can be hard to fit this into a busy schedule, so try to brush their teeth at the same time every day to make it a routine. Try brushing your dog's teeth every night before you to go bed or at another convenient time.

To keep your dog's teeth healthy, avoid making these three mistakes.